Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite
ICESat (Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite) is the benchmark
Earth Observing System (EOS) mission for measuring ice sheet mass
balance, cloud and aerosol heights, as well as land topography and
The ICESat mission will provide multi-year elevation data needed to
determine ice sheet mass balance as well as cloud property
information, especially for stratospheric clouds common over polar
areas. It will also provide topography and vegetation data around the
globe, in addition to the polar-specific coverage over the Greenland
and Antarctic ice sheets.
NASA selected Ball Aerospace to provide its Ball Commercial Platform
2000 (BCP 2000) spacecraft bus for the laser altimetry mission. In
cooperation with Colorado University/ Laboratory for Atmospheric and
Space Physics (LASP), Ball Aerospace will provide the mission
operations for ICESat. This includes a Mission Operations Center, a
Flight Operations Team, and a Flight Dynamics System, all based on
systems currently supporting other similar missions. ICESat data will
be archived and distributed by the National Snow and Ice Data Center
The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) is the sole instrument on
the ICESat flight.
ICESat was successfully launched on January 12, 2003.
For more information on ICESat, see:
For more information on the Earth Observing System (EOS), see: