NASA’s 2nd Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat-2) is scheduled for liftoff on September 15th, with a launch window of 5:46AM – 8:20AM. ICESat-2 will continue the observations of ice-sheet elevation change, sea-ice freeboard, and vegetation canopy height. This will be the final launch of a Delta 2 rocket, and if successful, mark its 100th consecutive successful mission. The first Delta II launch occurred in 1989 carrying the first GPS Block II satellite into a high orbit. [ED: This is a ULA launch.]
Classified spy satellite cargo will be launched aboard the mighty Delta 4 Heavy rocket for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). Details about the payload are clandestine. Los Angeles Air Force Base released a statement emphasizing the role these missions play in national security. “These launches will support the NRO’s mission of providing innovative overhead intelligence systems for national security.” Liftoff is currently scheduled for September 26th [ED: Rescheduled to December 3rd.], with the launch window to be announced.
Wrapping up the month of September [ED: October] is SpaceX’s launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying SAOCOM 1A for Argentina’s space agency, CONAE. This satellite is the first of two SAOCOM 1-series Earth observation satellites designed to provide radar imagery to help emergency responders and monitor the environment. This launch is slated to be the first West Coast Return To Launch Site (RTLS); which means the Falcon 9 rocket will attempt to land back on base. Liftoff is currently scheduled for September 28th [ED: October 7th] with the launch time to be announced.