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NASA Selects ULA Delta II for ICESat-2 Mission

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
February 22, 2013
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NASA Selects ULA Delta II for ICESat-2 Mission

NASA’s Launch Services Program announced today that it selected United Launch Alliance’s (ULA’s) proven Delta II launch vehicle to launch the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) mission.
“United Launch Alliance is honored that NASA has selected the Delta II to launch this critical science mission,” said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Mission Operations.

“While we achieve mission success one-launch-at-a-time, the ULA team has a long history of many successful missions launched on Delta II, including 50 missions for our NASA customer. In addition to the Delta II, the ULA team is also successfully launching a wide array of missions on the Atlas V and Delta IV systems. The Delta II launch system continues to offer excellent reliability and value to our customers and we look forward to launching the ICESat-2 mission together with the NASA team,” said Sponnick.

The newly contracted mission is scheduled to launch in July of 2016 from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

ULA’s Delta II has launched the majority of NASA’s critical science missions over the last decade including the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity, Genesis, Phoenix Mars Lander, Stardust, and the twin GRAIL spacecraft.

ULA’s next launch is the Atlas V SBIRS GEO-2 mission for the Air Force scheduled for March 19 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

ULA program management, engineering, test, and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Ala., and Harlingen, Texas. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., and Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

For more information on ULA, visit the ULA Web site at, or call the ULA Launch Hotline at 1-877-ULA-4321 (852-4321). Join the conversation at and

Contact: Jessica Rye, (321) 730-5646 (office), (321) 693-6250 (cell)

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.