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ICESat is a part of NASA's Earth Observing System. Its primary objectives are to determine the mass balance of the polar ice sheets and their contributions to global sea level change and to obtain essential data for prediction of future changes in ice volume and sea-level. Secondary objectives are to measure cloud heights and the vertical stucture of clouds and aerosols in the atmosphere, to map the topography of land surfaces, and to measure roughness, reflectivity, vegetation heights, snow-cover, and sea-ice surface characteristics.

To achieve these goals, ICESat will utilize its sole instrument, the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System, or GLAS.

Image credit: Ball Aerospace

Alternate Names

  • 27642
  • Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2003-01-13
Launch Vehicle: Delta II
Launch Site: Vandenberg AFB, United States
Nominal Power: 350 W

Funding Agency

  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (United States)


  • Earth Science

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office


Other sources of ICESat information

ICESat project (NASA GSFC)

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