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.

ICON at AGU Fall Meeting

San Francisco, 12-16 December, 2016

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With approximately 24,000 attendees in 2015, AGU’s Fall Meeting is the largest Earth and space science meeting in the world.

Here are ICON-related sessions, poster sessions and a press conference:

  

Monday, 12 December 2016

SA11A-01: The Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) : Mission Design and Planning

08:00 – 08:15     Moscone West - 2016    Authors: Immel et. al.

The Ionospheric Connection Explorer is NASA's next Explorer mission, with a primary scientific goal of understanding the source of the extreme variability in Earth's ionosphere. The observatory is scheduled to be delivered to the Pegasus launch vehicle in early 2017 for a June launch. ICON carries unprecedented capability to orbit in a broader national and international effort to understand changes in our space environment occurring on a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. Here, we will discuss plans for the observatory checkout and early operations, and discuss the observing conditions expected in the atmosphere and ionosphere at that time. The status of the science data pipeline and the predicted performance of the observatory for scientific measurements will be discussed.

ICON Passes Critical Milestone

A Message from the Principal Investigator

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Two weeks ago, ICON passed a major review at NASA Headquarters, putting it on schedule to launch in ten months. It's a big milestone. ICON was approved to proceed with observatory integration at Orbital ATK in Virginia, meaning that the payload with all the attached instruments was mated to the spacecraft bus, a significant step in the journey to becoming a real science observatory.

Utah State's Space Lab Plays Large Role in Latest Satellite

ICON Will Improve Understanding of Upper Atmosphere - 'No Man's Land'

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SURAE CHINN, LOGAN, UTAH (GOOD4UTAH) --When it comes to space exploration, the Space Dynamics Lab at Utah State University plays a big role. 
 
The newest addition to NASA's fleet of satellites is supposed to improve our understanding of weather tracking and GPS communication. 
 
Scientists know very little about the upper atmosphere, 60 miles above ground where atmosphere ends and space begins. But ICON or Ionospheric Connection Explorer hopes to change that.  The payload will be part of NASA's mission into space.  
 
It took engineers tens of thousand of man hours to build the real thing, with the final integration and testing done right here in Logan.
 
ICON that will hopefully unravel the mystery of this so called 'no mans land.'
 
Dr. Jed Hancock, Director of Civil Space Division of SDL 'this will tell scientist how weather on earth affects weather in space. This is important because a lot of the systems that we rely on every day life like GPS rely on atmosphere and the ionosphere."
 
The U.C. Berkeley-led team is in charge of the NASA funded mission along with engineers and scientists across the globe.
 

Excitement Building for September “GEOGOLDICON” Collaborative Meeting on Space Weather

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AN NSF-supported meeting at the High Altitude Observatory in Boulder CO at the end of September is drawing participants from around the globe. Over 80 participants -- and counting -- have registered for the GEOGOLDICON conference bringing together satellite and ground-based missions exploring Earth’s near-space environment, as well as others interested in observation and analysis opportunities. (The name comes from the combination of ICON and GOLD missions and NSF Geospace). Collaborations forged at the meeting will allow leverage of each other’s work and broad participation in the investigation of long-standing mysteries and challenges, such as what effect Earth’s weather has on space weather.  The meeting is free and the invitation extended to the solar, heliospheric, magnetospheric and atmospheric communities.

Read more about the GEOGOLDICON conference.

You can also read ICON’s submitted papers.

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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