ICON Photos

  • Released Saturday, June 2nd, 2018
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:46PM

The Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, is a low-Earth orbiting satellite that will give us new information about how Earth’s atmosphere interacts with near-Earth space — a give-and-take that plays a major role in the safety of our satellites and reliability of communications signals.


Specifically, ICON investigates the connections between the neutral atmosphere — which extends from here near the surface to far above us, at the edge of space — and the electrically charged part of the atmosphere, called the ionosphere. The particles of the ionosphere carry electrical charge that can disrupt communications signals, cause satellites in low-Earth orbit to become electrically charged, and, in extreme cases, cause power outages on the ground.

An ICON technician begins to remove the large ground support equipment “C-Plates” from the aft end of the satellite after mating to the Pegasus XL.Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin

An ICON technician begins to remove the large ground support equipment “C-Plates” from the aft end of the satellite after mating to the Pegasus XL.

Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin

Orbital ATK engineer inspects the ICON to Pegasus XL interface after the satellite has been mated to the Launch Vehicle.Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin

Orbital ATK engineer inspects the ICON to Pegasus XL interface after the satellite has been mated to the Launch Vehicle.

Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin

The ICON observatory at Northrop Grumman's Satellite Manufacturing Facility in Gilbert, Arizona. The four scientific instruments are arrayed on the top half of the observatory and the spacecraft is located in the lower half.Credit: Northrop Grumman/George Tenney

The ICON observatory at Northrop Grumman's Satellite Manufacturing Facility in Gilbert, Arizona. The four scientific instruments are arrayed on the top half of the observatory and the spacecraft is located in the lower half.

Credit: Northrop Grumman/George Tenney

Engineers inspect the ICON observatory inside a clean room at Northrop Grumman’s Satellite Manufacturing Facility in Gilbert, Arizona. Credit: Northrop Grumman/George Tenney

Engineers inspect the ICON observatory inside a clean room at Northrop Grumman’s Satellite Manufacturing Facility in Gilbert, Arizona.

Credit: Northrop Grumman/George Tenney



Credits

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


Missions

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