JAVA based Countdown Clock and Launch Status
Replay of launch from VAFB (RealMedia Format)
Launched Sunday, January 12, 2003 at 7:45 pm EST (4:45 PST)
Launch attempt on Saturday, January 11, 2003 was delayed 24 hours
due to a mechanical problem loading helium into the rocket
ICESat (Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite) is the benchmark Earth Observing System mission for measuring ice sheet mass balance, cloud and aerosol heights, as well as land topography and vegetation characteristics.
The ICESat mission will provide multi-year elevation data needed to determine ice sheet mass balance as well as cloud property information, especially for stratospheric clouds common over polar areas. It will also provide topography and vegetation data around the globe, in addition to the polar-specific coverage over the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.
The Cosmic Hot Interstellar Plasma Spectrometer (CHIPS) is a University-Class Explorer (UNEX) mission funded by NASA. It will carry out all-sky spectroscopy of the diffuse background at wavelengths from 90 to 260 E with a peak resolution of /150 (about 0.5 eV). CHIPS data will help scientists determine the electron temperature, ionization conditions, and cooling mechanisms of the million-degree plasma believed to fill the local interstellar bubble. The majority of the luminosity from diffuse million-degree plasma is expected to emerge in the poorly-explored CHIPS band, making CHIPS data of relevance in a wide variety of Galactic and extragalactic astrophysical environments. The CHIPS instrument will be carried into space aboard CHIPSat, a dedicated spacecraft to be built by SpaceDev, Inc., and launched from the second stage of a Delta rocket in early 2003.
Sunday, January 12, 2003 19:51:52 EST (J. Dumoulin)
A service of NASA/Kennedy Space Center ELV and Payload Carriers Office, Steve Francois, Director