Artistic vision of the ICON spacecraft exploring the boundary between the Earth and outer space
On October 23, NASA announced that it had to postpone again the launch of the ICON mission to study the interaction of ground and space weather. The orbital satellite was planned to be launched in December 2017, but it was repeatedly detained due to problems with the rocket. The last time they announced that they should send it on October 26 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force (Florida).
NASA did not explain the reason for the delay and only mentioned that the team wants to further test the rocket. A new launch date will be assigned after testing is completed. The agency also does not yet tell how long the delay will last, but they say that everything is fine with the device. Created by Northrop Grumman Corporation, the Pegasus (XL) rocket seems unusual. It is not launched from the surface of the Earth, but transported by plane, after which it is shot in the air. In June, when testing revealed problems in the rocket, which had to be fixed. ICON's mission is to study the ionosphere - the layer of the Earth's atmosphere, where earth and space weather are in contact. This is a turbulent part of space, but also an important region for GPS satellites and other space infrastructure.