Science/Tech

Long-Delayed Space Mission Finally Rescheduled By NASA

After getting delayed for a very long time due to unexpected problems, a NASA space science mission finally gets the green light from the space agency, and is now set to be launched in October, nearly two years after its supposed original fly date.

Green Light

In a statement released by NASA on Monday, the space agency has revealed that the delayed Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida is now being targeted for an October 10 launch. Per NASA, come October 1, the launch vehicle and satellite will be ferried from California to Florida on Northrop Grumman’s L-1011 carrier aircraft.

Previously, the ICON satellite was supposed to originally launch back in late 2017, off Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific. However, an unexpected number of issues that came up in the spacecraft’s rocket separation system pushed it for a June 2018 launch. And while en route to the launch site back in 2018, engineers then detected what they called as “off-nominal” data coming from the rocket, delaying the satellite for the second time as a swift return to California was prompted. The launch was then re-scheduled to November 2018, with the launch site being moved to Cape Canaveral due to better range access. However, a November 7 launch attempt saw the rocket’s L-1011 take off with more off-nominal data, after which the launch and spacecraft was delayed indefinitely.

“The cause of the issue is understood, and the flight hardware has been modified to address the issue,” NASA said at that time. Neither NASA nor the rocket’s manufacturer disclosed any details about the supposed anomaly.

Now however, the rocket finally has a launch date, although time will tell if this will finally be the day that ICON takes off and pushes through with its mission. Weighing 288 kilograms, the ICON satellite is made to observe and study the interactions between the weather in our planet and the weather in space. Per experts, understanding the relationship between the two could give us a better understanding of how phenomena made by space weather affect transmissions made by radio and navigation.

The NASA Space Launch System (SLS) The NASA Space Launch System (SLS). NASA

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