United Launch Alliance (ULA) will launch NASA’s Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (IceSat)-2 aboard a Delta 2 rocket in July 2016 under a $96.6 million fixed-price contract, the space agency announced Feb. 22.
The Delta 2 will place IceSat-2, a climate-change observatory, into a near-circular Earth polar orbit following liftoff from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, NASA said.
NASA at one point planned to launch IceSat-2 along with the U.S. Air Force’s Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) F20 satellite in 2016 aboard an Atlas 5 rocket, but the deal fell through when the military delayed the weather mission to 2020.
NASA has now contracted for four of the five Delta 2 rockets remaining in ULA’s inventory. The vehicle is out of production.