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

Karin Hauck 0 615

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.

How to Build a Research Satellite

ICON Assembly and Testing

Karin Hauck 0 1566

It’s about a year until ICON launches, and all teamsscience, instruments, mission operations and modeling teamsare moving forward with laser focus. There is little time to rest when so much goes into making a NASA satellite ready for launch in June 2017.  Systems need to be tested to ensure they can download and process the data that ICON will be generating nearly continuously, orbit after orbit, in Earth’s upper atmosphere. Current data processing testing is making use of the data that the flight instruments are already producing as they undergo ground testing—it's a great way to see how everything's flowing through the data pipeline.  In fact, the mission and instrument operations teams worked together recently to perform a “day in the life” test with the instruments, where they ran them through a 24 hour long sequence of commands, to simulate what they will do over a full day's worth of orbits.

A Cake to Celebrate a Milestone

Karin Hauck 0 778

The team working on ICON’s payload had a party over the weekend to commemorate their working together for the past year and their “empty nester” status now that the instrument has gone to Utah (Space Dynamics Lab) for testing and integration. UC Berkeley Electrical Engineer and party host Dorothy Gordon ordered the festive ICON cake from a local bakery. She said, “I had a great time working with the ICON-ICP (instrument control package) team and just wanted to get them all together again before we all drift off.” The send-off after their intensive work together takes place one year before ICON launches, so the cake could also be an “anti-birthday cake” celebrating ICON’s minus-one birthday!

The Start of ICON

Research reveals how much we’d been missing of our connection to space

Dr. Thomas Immel 0 1468

Earth’s ionosphere is chemically and dynamically complex—energized and stirred up by the aurora at the poles, concentrated and unstable at the equator. ICON focuses on this region because it is the place where coupling between our atmosphere and our space environment really occurs.  Our understanding of this relationship has come from almost a century of measurements, first from the ground and later from space.

ICON integration and testing is underway at the Space Dynamics Lab in Utah

Claire Raftery 0 1362

The integration and testing processes for the ICON payload have begun! All of the instruments have been shipped to the Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL) in Logan Utah and integrated into the payload deck, with the Instrument Control Package due for shipment by the end of the month. IVM-B is coming soon as well, closing out the full complement of instruments.

The integration and testing - or I&T - procedures are a vital part of preparing for flight. The instruments have been built all over the country - California, Texas, and Virginia. In order to ensure that they will be able to function together as planned, they are brought together on the Payload Integration Plate (PIP). The PIP, the instruments, and the Instrument Control Package together become the science payload, which will then undergo a series of thorough vibration and thermal tests at SDL over the coming months.

Following I&T, the payload will be shipped from Utah to Orbital ATK in Virginia, where it will be integrated onto the main spacecraft “bus” - the guts of the satellite that controls communication, attitude, and other overall controls. This will happen towards the end of 2016, in preparation for launch in summer 2017.

RSS
12345
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