She will be responsible for studying specific phenomena.
The mission has been described labeled Icon (Ionospheric Connection Explorer). Originally, it was to start in the summer of 2017. Problems with launching began with problems with the Pegasus rocket, which was to be responsible for launching the satellite into orbit.
Scientists in the Icon mission are interested in what data the satellite can deliver to the surface of the earth. More specifically, it is about the mysterious ionosphere – a huge layer of the atmosphere, which starts from a height of about 48 kilometers and extends to a height of up to 965 kilometers. This part of the atmosphere is vulnerable to influences of so-called space weather – particles flowing from the sun, which interact chemically with particles in our atmosphere, charging it and creating phenomena such as the northern lights, for example.
Ionosphere is so unpredictable that some weather events occurring in space may have real impact on electronics and systems on Earth, as well as GPS satellites and the International Space Station.
The ICON satellite has been equipped with various instruments which are meant to better understand the events above the planet. ICON is able to measure the temperature of particles and detect plasma in a selected region. The vehicle will also measure the density of the atmosphere itself and all available chemicals moving in the ionosphere. ICON will therefore work similarly to special aircraft that fly into the middle of a hurricane to gather more data about it.
The satellite launch has been postponed by NASA due to the weather. It is very possible that the rocket will be able to launch equipment into orbit today, October 10.