Tour the Plane Giving NASA’s ICON a Ride to Space

  • Released Tuesday, November 6th, 2018
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:46PM

Early in the morning of Nov. 7, 2018, NASA launches the Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, a spacecraft that will explore the dynamic region where Earth meets space. ICON launches on a Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket, which is carried aloft by the Stargazer L-1011 aircraft.


Join NASA on a behind-the-scenes tour of this plane, once a jet airliner and now uniquely retrofitted to boost spacecraft into low-Earth orbit. Learn about ICON’s science and meet the people — including an engineer, technician, and pilot — who will help launch the spacecraft into orbit.

Learn more at: nasa.gov/icon

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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


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