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Home / Science / NASA launches a satellite to investigate the space edge overnight. Here's how to watch.

NASA launches a satellite to investigate the space edge overnight. Here's how to watch.



NASA's long-delayed Ionospheric Connection Explorer will launch in the early morning (7 November) to investigate the boundary between Earth's atmosphere and space.

The launch window will open at 03:00 EST (0800 GMT) and close at 16:00 EST (0930 GMT). The mission will be flown from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. You can watch the launch live on Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV, of a program that starts at 14:45 EST (0745 GMT).

According to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida (19459005) The weather conditions favor a smooth start with a 90 percent chance of good conditions.

  Illustration of an ICON spacecraft at work exploring the boundary between Earth and space.

Artistic representation of the ICON spacecraft at work the boundary between earth and space.

Credit: Goddard Space Flight Center of NASA / Mary Pat Hrybyk-Keith

The morning start has a small twist: The rocket launch takes place from the air. The mission, called ICON, launches aboard a Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket, which is supposed to launch after a fall from an aircraft called the Stargazer L-1011 at a height of about 12,000 meters.

The Stargazer will drop the Pegasus approximately 5 minutes after launch, ICON is deployed about 11 minutes later, following a NASA statement about the mission and its launch. The satellite will orbit the earth at an altitude of 574 kilometers.

The $ 252 million two-year ICON mission is designed to study Earth's ionosphere – a level of the atmosphere that is fully charged particles generated by the sun's radiation. The layer interacts with the above and below, influenced by both the terrestrial weather and the sun.

And the ionosphere is a crucial region for what scientists refer to as space weather, a series of phenomena that include harmless, luminous auroras and extreme explosions

ICON is involved in this quest with a mission called Global Observation of the Limb and Working together on the disc (GOLD), which was launched in January and November

ICON's launch was delayed by one year due to concerns about the performance of the rocket.

E-mail Meghan Bartels at mbartels@space.com or follow her @meghanbartels . Follow us @SpaceTotcom and Facebook. Original article on Space.com .


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