NASA officials are looking forward to this weekend’s launch of the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) from Vandenberg Air Force Base, but it’ll be a bittersweet moment for some members of the team.
That’s because the rocket that will carry ICESat-2 into space will be the last of its kind to take flight.
United Launch Alliance is retiring the Delta II rocket following Saturday morning’s launch.
On Thursday, Mission Manager Rex Engelhardt from NASA’s Launch Services Program and Mission Integration Engineer Shaun Daly gave a special presentation on the Delta II rocket at the Lompoc Library.
"We have a lot of missions on Delta that look back at Earth and a lot that look at the sun," Daly explained.
ICESat-2 will study Earth.
The experts said the Delta II is being retired because of new rocket technology and because some of the parts for the Delta II are no longer available.
Firefly Aerospace will reportedly take over the launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base that was used for the Delta II launches.
Saturday’s launch is scheduled for 5:46 a.m.