BackForward Satellite: ICESat 

Satellite details
Acronym ICESat
Full name Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite
WIGOS Station Identifier ---
Satellite Description
  • 1st flight unit of the ICESat programme.
  • Main mission; polar ice observation and ice sheet mass balance, with capability to derive sea ice thickness.
  • Substantial contribution to cloud and aerosol profiling.
  • Significant contribution to land topography.
Mass at launch 970 kg Dry mass
Power 730 W
Data access link
Data access information
  • Data available from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSDIC), Boulder.
Orbit Drifting orbit Altitude 600 km
Inclination 94 °


Space agency NASA
Status Inactive
Details on Status
(as available)
  • Due to early failure of one of three redundant lasers on 29 March 2003, ICESat was operated in a campaign-style mode for┬áperiods of 1-2 months duration each.
Launch 12 Jan 2003 EOL 14 Aug 2010
Last update: 2015-07-28
Associated satellite programme and related satellites

Note: red tag: no longer operational , green tag: operational , blue tag : future

Satellite Payload

All known Instruments flying on ICESat

Acronym Full name
GLAS Geoscience Laser Altimeter System
LRA Laser Retroreflector Array
TRSR Turbo Rogue Space Receiver
Show instrument status and calibration