CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA is gearing up for its Pegasus rocket launch Wednesday night, which is carrying the Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) satellite.
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Here are five things to know about the launch, which has been years in the making:
1. ICON SATELLITE: Pegasus rocket will send NASA'S Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) satellite to orbit some 360 miles up, where it will scan the frontier of space known as the Ionosphere, an area filled with constantly changing solar winds, weather and charged gas known as plasma.
2. CHANGES: Those changes can affect communications on satellites and on Earth. Scientists have known this is where Earth and space weather meet, but now they have ICON, which is equipped to study the region and give them the best information to date.
3. “DROPBOX”: The Northrup Grumman Stargazer plane with the Pegasus tucked underneath, will soar to 39,000 feet over the ocean to what is called the “dropbox,” a 40-mile long area, 50 to 100 miles off the Daytona coast.
4. LIFTOFF: The Stargazer is set to take off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Skid Strip at 8:32 p.m. Wednesday night during a 90-minute launch window from the atmosphere runs from 9:25 p.m. to 10:55 p.m., with the release targeted for 9:30 p.m.
5. WEATHER: Weather is an issue — standing now at just 30 percent favorable.