ICON on cover of Applied Optics magazine

Karin Hauck 0 219
The magazine Applied Optics featured an article about ICON's MIGHTI instrument in its March 10, 2017 issue, and chose a photograph from the article for its cover page. This is ICON's first print magazine cover. In a mostly-digital publishing age, it's an honor to be chosen for a prominent place in this highly regarded industry publication from The Optical Society.

2016 will be an exciting year for the ICON mission

Claire Raftery 0 1400

2016 will be an exciting year for the ICON mission. This year will see the assembly and test of the complete scientific payload (the collection of instruments and telescopes ICON will carry), the completion of the spacecraft (the main body of the satellite), and when these come together, the assembly and test of the full ICON observatory.

Over the next two months, all of the ICON instruments, the Instrument Control Package (ICP), and other key components will be delivered to the Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL) in Utah for integration into the payload. Once integrated into a single payload package, it will undergo specialized vibration and vacuum tests to simulate the conditions of launch and operations on orbit.

Once the payload performance has been confirmed, the payload package will be delivered to Orbital ATK in Virginia, who are building the main body of the spacecraft, called the “bus”. Delivery is planned for mid-year, which will give Orbital ATK ample opportunity to test the entire observatory and prepare it for integration with the Pegasus launch vehicle in Spring of 2017.

Meanwhile, the science team will be busy completing the software needed to download and manipulate the data taken by ICON’s instruments to prepare the data pipeline for receipt of real (rather than simulated) data soon after launch in June of 2017.

Follow the mission’s progress at http://icon.ssl.berkeley.edu/News/Blog or on twitter @NASASunEarth

The MIGHTI Engineering Unit optics integration and vibration test is complete

Claire Raftery 0 1075

ICON’s Michelson Interferometer for Global High-resolution Thermospheric Imaging (MIGHTI) instrument includes two identical optical assemblies, one for each of the perpendicular fields of view that will observe thermospheric wind-vector and temperature profiles. An engineering unit of the optical assembly was completed and successfully vibration tested in June 2015 at the Naval Research Laboratory.

ICON skin is based on Greytness by Adammer
Background image, courtesy of NASA, is a derivitave of photograph taken by D. Pettit from the ISS, used under Creative Commons license