The final launch of a Delta II rocket was victorious this past weekend, which sent an Earth-tracking satellite built in Arizona into space to assist with measuring the impact of global warming.
This is an important development for Asgardia who aims to protect Earth from space threats.
As per Northrop Grumman Corp, a 2,919-pound satellite they built for NASA to measure glaciers was deployed on Sept. 15 from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base aboard a Delta II, delineating the final launch for that rocket.
The satellite, known as the Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite, will give precise measurements of the changing heights of glaciers, ice sheets and sea ice on our planet.
Aboard the satellite are instruments that send out 10,000 laser pulses per second, allowing scientists to measure ice levels on rough topography over the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets every 28 seconds along the satellite’s path.
A previous version of the satellite, that was used from 2003 to 2010, offered less-accurate ice-sheet measurements.
Thus, Northrop Grumman built this spacecraft with better propulsion, composite structures, a space-navigation system, and other components, including motors for the rocket. The company engineered and constructed the satellite in Gilbert and will monitor the mission from Virginia. The satellite’s mission is set to last three years, but that could be extended.
In fact, a recent report categorized Arizona as No. 4 for states who manufacture aerospace and defence equipment.
In June Northrop Grumman saw a $9.2-billion acquisition of Orbital ATK, which had them take charge of the Gilbert satellite facility. Approximately 460 people, such as engineers, technicians and support staff, work at the Gilbert campus close to Elliot Road and McQueen, according to Rick Kettner, the site manager of the facility.
The Gilbert site has been the center of many space-centric businesses since 1989. In 2004, a satellite-manufacturing factory was built there under General Dynamics. The operation, which is expanding, presently designs various science-focused and communication satellites for private customers and the government, explained Kettner.
Overall, Northrop Grumman employs around 2,500 people in Arizona, including at a defence operation in Mesa and a flight-systems facility in Chandler.
Other parts needed for the newest ice-monitoring satellite were manufactured at company facilities in California and Maryland, with parts for the rocket and motors built in Utah, Mississippi and California.
Charlie Precourt, vice president and general manager of propulsion systems for Northrop Grumman, stated that Motors manufactured by Northrop Grumman have helped to launch 132 Delta II missions in total.
In a prepared statement Precourt highlighted the fact that the Delta II rocket holds the title for the longest consecutive success record in commercial rocket-motor history.
First deployed in 1989, the Delta II has been sent into space over 150 times, carrying NASA rovers, the Phoenix Mars landing craft, and many different kinds of satellites.
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