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Artist's impression of ICESat-2 in orbit
Mission type Remote sensing
Operator NASA
Mission duration 3 years
Spacecraft properties
Bus LEOStar-3[1]
Manufacturer Orbital Sciences[1]
Launch mass 1,324 kilograms (2,919 lb)
Power 1200 watts
Start of mission
Launch date 2017 [2]
Rocket Delta II 7320-10C[3]
Launch site Vandenberg SLC-2W
Contractor ULA
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Perigee 496 kilometers (308 mi)[1]
Apogee 496 kilometers (308 mi)[1]
Inclination 94.0 degrees
Epoch Planned

ICESat-2 (Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite 2), part of NASA's Earth Observing System, is a planned satellite mission for measuring ice sheet mass elevation, sea ice freeboard as well as land topography and vegetation characteristics.[4] ICESat-2 is a planned follow-on to the ICESat mission. It will be launched in 2017 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California into a near-circular, near-polar orbit with an altitude of approximately 496 km. It is being designed to operate for 3 years, and will carry enough propellant for 7 years.

The ICESat-2 mission is designed to provide elevation data needed to determine ice sheet mass balance as well as vegetation coverage information. It provides topography and vegetation data around the globe, in addition to the polar-specific coverage over the polar regions.

The ICESat-2 project is being managed by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The sole instrument is being designed and built by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and the bus is being provided by Orbital Sciences Corporation.


  • Satellite Instruments 1
  • Education and Public Outreach 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Satellite Instruments

The sole instrument on ICESat-2 will be the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS), a space-based LIDAR. The ATLAS laser will emit visible laser pulses at 532 nm wavelength. The laser is being developed and built by Fibertek, Inc. As ICESat-2 orbits, the ATLAS will create 3 pairs of tracks, each pair being 3.3 km wide. The laser will fire at a rate of 10 kHz.

Education and Public Outreach

The ICESat-2 Education and Public Outreach (EPO) Project Implementation Plan (PIP) is currently being developed during Phase B of the ICESat-2 Mission. The development of the ICESat-2 EPO PIP is guided by the following:

Overarching Objective: To educate students, educators, and the public on the scientific attributes and societal benefits of the ICESat-2 Mission.


1. To promote the future of the ICESat-2 mission as an integral part of NASA's Earth-observing fleet of satellites

2. To develop and sustain mission education and outreach activities through leveraging of historically-successful national and international education programs

3. To have ICESat-2 education become part of a wider multi-mission education effort in the Earth Sciences

4. To promote ICESat-2 as being one of the leading satellites promoting and fostering an understanding of global climate change

  • ICESat-2 EPO (Goddard Space Flight Center)


  1. ^ a b c d "ICESAT-2 (OSC)". Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  2. ^ "ICESAT-2 (NASA)". NASA. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "ICESAT-2 (NASA)". Retrieved 14 October 2011. 

External links

  • ICESat-2 (Goddard Space Flight Center)
  • ICESat (Center for Space Research, University of Texas)
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