Before beaming 300 miles to Earth's surface, bouncing off the
ground and travelling another 300 miles back into space, the laser photons on NASA's
Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2 first have to complete a 7 and 1/2 foot
obstacle course inside the satellite's instrument.
Read more here!
ICESat-2: Now One ATLAS
The ATLAS team brought together two major components of the
ATLAS Instrument, box structure and optical bench. Chris Kolos, Andy Scharmann, Chris Ross,
Lydsey Gwilliam, Jenny Young, Karl Schuler, Mike Schoolman, Harry Willems, Sito Balleza,
Nick Virmani, Bill Newell, Wendy Chillemi, Brian Simpson, Jeffrey Twum, Felix Nicolas,
Tyler Evans, Mike Hersh, Randall Brown, Steve Vincent, Scott Brody. The team is made up of
mechanical, thermal and optical engineers, quality assurance engineers, and safety engineers.
NASA's ATLAS Thermal Testing: You're Hot, Then You're Cold
Once in orbit, the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 will
go from basking in the heat of the sun to freezing in Earth's shadow every 90 minutes.
And every second in that orbit, it will need to take thousands of precise measurements
of the height of the surface below.
Click here to read more!
ICESat-2's instrument - ATLAS - is designed to measure heights on Earth. ATLAS has three main tasks:
transmitting a pattern of six laser beams, collecting the laser photons that return to the satellite after
reflecting off Earth, and recording the travel time of those photons. First up - transmitting the laser.
In this video, optical engineer Tyler Evans illustrates how the laser is transmitted from the ATLAS
instrument to the ground.
Click here to watch.
To catch individual laser photons that have travelled
more than 600 miles from a satellite to Earth and back, the satellite's telescope
needs to be perfectly positioned.
To find out how click here.
Image Credit: Debbie McCallum/NASA
See how NASA Builds a Space Laser!
To build a satellite that will measure all the
bumps and dips of our dynamic Earth, engineers started with a black box.
Learn how ICESat-2's ATLAS instrument is being built
Image Credit: NASA/ Kate Ramsayer
Penguin Naming Contest Winner!
The penguin mascot for NASA's upcoming ICESat-2
mission now has a name! The mission's feathered friend will be called ...
Click here to find out
MABEL: Welcome to Fairbanks!
The ER-2 Team, along with NASA scientists,
engineers, and others, are here in Fairbanks to fly a laser altimeter
- MABEL - over melting summer sea ice, glaciers, and more. Follow their adventures