NASA’s great ICON


   You know that NASA is a leading company that has taken a prominent place in the field of astronomy field and the space science field. Therefore they are continuously trying over many projects. The above project is another one. Sometimes I wonder if there are many things to discover in the space. But there are so many of them that not yet located. Someday they are all discovered by scientists. But that cannot be over eventually because there are infinite secrets in the space. Then how that will over eventually? We just hope that scientists will find out the secrets of space. Those scientists maybe the scientists from NASA and SpaceX. Those are American companies. Not only that, but also there are more companies in other countries. The other countries are like India and Russia. 

     If you are a spice lover, you can see an exciting story. This is the complete details about the ICON space mission. That is a very recent project by NASA. 

  Now we will see about the project by NASA. The ICON project. 

ICON project 

  There are various meanings by the name ICON. But here this is a short abbreviation used to name the project. Therefore ICON is an Ionospheric CONnection explorer. 

   Before that, we have to know what is the Ionosphere. 

  What is the Ionosphere??? 

   This is the layer of the atmosphere. This is the ionised part of the atmosphere. There are five parts of the atmosphere. They are as troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere and the exosphere. The photography exosphere and the thermosphere is known as the Ionosphere. The Ionosphere has a significant. It is that there are Particles ionised by solar radiation. Other than that, there is another use of Ionosphere. It is that this part affects radio propagation. There is another part of the atmosphere that is below from the Ionosphere. It is called the neutral atmosphere or the nutrisphere. There are many space crafts affected when travelling in this particular area. The effect through the magnetic and the electric field. This is a layer that supported to the conduction of signals. 

   But in here due to the electric charges, something can happen to the satellites, satellites orbits. Not only due to the electrical costs but also from changing the density of the layer, changing the magnetic field can affect. 

  Now we will turn back to our main topic.  

Again to the Ionospheric Connection explorer…. 

    Do you have an idea why I had told you above about the Ionosphere?? Think that. I said about the Ionosphere because this project is aiming the Ionosphere in the earth. NASA planned this project to investigate the changes in the earth’s Ionosphere. In other words, Ionosphere can be known in this way. This is the region that takes place in the interaction between the earth’s weather and space weather. 

  I told you above that this can even be categories as the space mission. But you can see this is an investigation of the earth’s atmosphere. However, this is designed to find out the interaction of the earth’s weather and space weather. Now I know that you would have a question definitely. I can predict that question. It is that how can be there is weather in space. Not only in the earth but also there are weather changes that occur in the outer space too. That happens mainly with the Sun. The aim of this program is to find out the influence of this region for communication, such as GPS services. You know that this is a project by NASA. Even this is a part of NASA ‘s explorer’s programme. This project is operated by the UC Berkeley’ s Space Sciences Laboratory. 

The procedure of the ICON

icon satellite mission plan in a graphical art

   You know that these projects cannot be done in a few days. There has to be proper planning. This project plans for two years. Can you think of a time that you spend?. And there has to be a collection of knowledge of the many experts. This spacecraft has a mass of 287kg. The consuming power of this spacecraft is about 780 watts. This mission started on the 11th of October 2019. It launched from the stargazer Cape Canaveral Skid Strip. 

  Now the time to see the development of the film. 

NASA released the plan of this mission on the 12th of April 2013. This project is along with the global scale observations of the Limb and Disk or the GOD. Even this has a budget of about US $ 200 million. This is not the total cost. There are some more too. This ICON was planned to launch in June of 2017 at the beginning. It was postponed due to the problems with the rocket Pegasus XL.

Then after that, it postponed to the 26th of December 2018. This is because of the issues on the first leg of the ferry flight to Kwajalein. It is because of the problem of the rocket. Then after that, it postponed to the 7th of November 2018. This was delayed because of the noise in the rocket avionics system. Even that is not taken place. At the final 28 minutes, the launch postponed to the 11th of October 2019.


  There are about two-year mission planned for this space vehicle. Currently, NASA is controlling this mission. But later it will be handled by the Mission operations centre or the MOC. It is in the space science laboratory at UC Berkeley. This controls seven space vehicles by NASA. 

  Then we move to the next part of this. Also, there cannot be any research done only with the space vehicle. There have to be other instruments too. They are known as the science payloads. Now we will see about the payloads of the space vehicle. 

  Science payloads of ICON 

  Mainly there are four payloads. Those are used yo investigation of the Ionosphere in various ways. They are such as structure and composition. They are as follows. 

  • Ion velocity meter or the IVM
  •  Michelson Interferometer for global high-resolution thermospheric imaging or the MIGHTY 
  •  Extreme ultraviolet or the EUC
  • Far ultraviolet or the FUV

Now we will see some brief details about these above payloads. 

Ion velocity meter or the IVM

   This part is made at the University of Texas. This can be used to collect the data about the ions. The ions are in the surrounding areas and space. This is an ion drift meter. 

Michelson Interferometer for global high-resolution thermospheric imaging or the MIGHTY 

   This made in the United States marine research laboratory. This instrument is used to measure the speed of the wind and the temperature. Actually, this made to measure the wind speed below 10mph.

Extreme ultraviolet or the EUC

   This made at the University of California. Furthermore, the height and the density of the Ionosphere can be measured through this part of the space vehicle. In other than that through this it can be detected the glowing of the oxygen. This is also an image. 

Far ultraviolet or the FUV

  This part even made in the University of California. This is an image. 

  In other than above the payloads there are solar panels here too. At present, there are many space vehicles that are using solar power in other than that there is no need to spend any extra money on the fuel. Solar energy can use it. 

Here, solar panels produce 780 watts. 

   This all above is about the ICON space mission. als0 Scientists hoped that the first details about the Ionosphere would send in the November 2019. If they have got them, they will release those soon. If you are a spice lover, I think you have enjoyed a lot after reading this. Wait with us to know more interesting details.

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