ICON Ready to Ship

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The ICON mission is proceeding apace. High fives are in order since the team just completed its fourth operational readiness test (ORT). During an ORT, a dozen SSL Mission Operation Team Members join forces with two dozen spacecraft engineers from Orbital ATK to rehearse the first week of activities that will occur during ICON’s launch and early orbit. It’s an entire week of long days and intensive testing in ICON’s Mission Operations Center at the UC Berkeley Space Sciences Lab, to simulate operation of the observatory. Spurred along by the fact that this was the final ORT before launch, the team worked together to bring it to a healthy and successful completion (simulating operations with a failed momentum wheel, no less). The next time these teams come together at SSL will be the actual launch day for ICON.

What does the Mission Operations Center do?

The MOC team prepare for the upcoming launch

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Dr. Manfred Bester, Manager of Mission Operations Center at the Space Sciences Lab of UC Berkeley, explains what he and his team do to prepare for the upcoming ICON launch.

"The most intense part is the immediate time before launch."

ICON at Cal Day, UC Berkeley's Open House

Life-size payload model popular with public

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On April 22, 2017, members of the ICON team showed off a life-size 3D-printed ICON payload mock-up—built by Space Dynamics Lab—at Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS) for Cal Day, UC Berkeley’s all-day Open House. PI Thomas Immel was on hand to answer questions. Nearly 1500 visitors, primarily families, made the extra trip up the hill from campus (where most activities were happening) to LHS and through the main hall, where the life-size model and other ICON outreach activities were featured.

Two NASA satellites slated for 2017 launch will focus on edge of space

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- Robert Sanders, Berkeley News.  Scientists at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory are preparing for the 2017 launch of an Earth-orbiting satellite to discover how storms in the atmosphere affect storms in the ionosphere.

The ionosphere is the edge of space where the sun ionizes the air in Earth’s atmosphere to create constantly shifting streams and sheets of charged particles.

The NASA-funded satellite, called the Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, will complement observations from a sister satellite also scheduled for launch in 2017: the Global Observations of the Limb and Disk, or GOLD. GOLD is being led by the University of Central Florida, though UC Berkeley space scientist Scott England works on both missions.

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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