Pegasus XL • ICON

Second after planned for 21st November 2016, mission of the Pegasus rocket launch system designed and developed in the late eighties by Orbital ATK. It is air-launched, three stage rocket, with optional fourth stage. With maximal payload mass of 443 kg limited only to low Earth orbit, rocket remains only operational air-launched rocket system for commercial purposes. Pegasus remains in service since 1990 and it was utilized in 43 missions with six failures.

ICON is NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON, also known as Helio-EX 1) scientific satellite planned to be operated by University of California. Weighing 227 kg satellite will be delivered to circular orbit with inclination at 27° and altitude of 575 km. It will perform series of measurements and experiments in lower parts of ionosphere with following instruments: MIGHTI (for remote measuring neutral wind field), EUV (for measuring parameters like height and density of ionosphere during day), FUV (for measuring composition of the atmosphere and ionosphere at night), and IVM (for evaluating level of electric fields). Satellite is based on LEOStar-2 bus and was built by Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC).

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