Earth Observation Mission News
NASA space laser completes 2,000-mile road trip
28 February 2018
ICESat-2, or the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2, is slated to launch in September to measure the height of Earth's surface, particularly the changing polar ice. To do that, it uses a laser instrument called the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System, or ATLAS, that precisely times how long it takes light particles to bounce off Earth and return to the satellite.
ATLAS, which was designed, built and tested at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, arrived in Gilbert, Arizona, at Orbital ATK's facility on 23 Feb., where it will be joined with the spacecraft structure. To deliver the instrument safely to the spacecraft for assembly and testing, the ATLAS team developed special procedures for packing, transporting and monitoring the sensitive hardware.
Image credit: NASA/Desiree Stover - The ATLAS team carefully lowers the instrument onto a platform, held up by wire-rope-coils, in a specifically designed transporter truck.