NASA officials settled on a launch service for the agency’s new land, clouds and ice observation satellite that will launch in July 2016, according to a NASA news release.
The agency set a contract with United Launch Services LLC for $96.6 million to launch the satellite with a Delta II rocket. The rocket is has deployed scientific observation satellites since 1989.
The ICESat-2 satellite is the second generation of NASA’s orbiting laser altimeter satellite. It observes how energy, mass and moisture transfers between ice sheets, the ocean and the atmosphere. Biomass observation and elevation of tree canopies will also be part of the satellite’s tasks.