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NASA Previews Mission to Study Frontier of Space

Processes in Earth’s ionosphere create bright swaths of color in the sky, known as airglow, as seen here in an image.
Processes in Earth’s ionosphere create bright swaths of color in the sky, known as airglow, as seen here in an image taken from the International Space Station. NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) mission will track airglow to observe how interactions between Earth’s weather and the ionosphere create changes in our space environment. Credits: NASA

NASA will host a media briefing at 1 p.m. EDT Monday, June 4, on the agency’s mission to explore Earth’s ionosphere and the processes there that impact life on Earth’s surface. The event will air live on NASA Television, the agency’s website and Facebook Live.

Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) will study the layer of charged particles extending from about 50 to 360 miles above Earth’s surface, through which radio communications and GPS signals travel, and the processes there that can distort or even disrupt these signals. Knowledge gleaned from this mission will aid in mitigating its effects on satellites and communications technology worldwide.

The event will be held at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Participants will include:

  • Willis Jenkins, ICON program executive at NASA Headquarters, Washington
  • Thomas Immel, mission principal investigator at the University of California Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory
  • Rebecca Bishop, ionospheric research scientist at Aerospace Corporation
  • Douglas Rowland, mission scientist at Goddard

Media who would like to attend the briefing or participate by phone must email their name, media affiliation and phone number to Karen Fox at by 12:30 p.m. June 4.

The public can send questions on social media by using #askNASA at any time during the event.

ICON will launch June 14 Eastern time on an Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands and deploy from Orbital’s L-1011 Stargazer aircraft.

For more information about the mission, visit:


Dwayne Brown / Karen Fox
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1726 / 301-286-6284 /