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NASA’s IceSat-2 Mission To Launch on Delta 2 Rocket

IceSat-2. Credit: NASA artist's concept

United Launch Alliance (ULA) will launch NASA’s Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (IceSat)-2 aboard a Delta 2 rocket in July 2016 under a $96.6 million fixed-price contract, the space agency announced Feb. 22.

The Delta 2 will place IceSat-2, a climate-change observatory, into a near-circular Earth polar orbit following liftoff from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, NASA said.

NASA at one point planned to launch IceSat-2 along with the U.S. Air Force’s Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) F20 satellite in 2016 aboard an Atlas 5 rocket, but the deal fell through when the military delayed the weather mission to 2020.

NASA has now contracted for four of the five Delta 2 rockets remaining in ULA’s inventory. The vehicle is out of production.

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