Earth Observation Mission News
NASA's ICESat-2 Preps for Laser Tests
16 August 2017
Lasers that will fly on NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2, are about to be put to the test at the agency's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
They are a part of the sole ICESat-2 instrument — the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) — that will measure the elevation of ice sheets, sea ice and glaciers by sending fast-firing laser pulses to the surface and timing how long it takes individual photons to return. With a scheduled launch date of 2018, the instrument now faces several months of testing at Goddard in which engineers will ensure it is ready to operate in the harsh environment of space. This is an intermediate stage of ICESat-2's testing regimen, and will focus on the flight lasers.
Image credit: NASA/Jeffrey Twum - The Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System instrument, which will fly on the ICESat-2 satellite, sits in a clean room at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.