In Space

The ICON Spacecraft before its launch. The mission was launched on October 2019 and has been on operation since then.

NASA Loses Contact with ICON Spacecraft

NASA has recently lost contact with its atmospheric research spacecraft. The spacecraft was launched on October 2019 and has since then been in operation.

  • More details coming soon...


Tue Dec 20 2022Written by Lucca

On November 25, NASA lost contact with the Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) spacecraft, an atmosphere-studying satellite that has already been working out of its design lifetime since December 2021. The spacecraft was launched on October 10, 2019, and has since already completed its two-year mission on December 2021.

Loosing Contact

The loss of contact would have activated an eight-day “command loss timer” on the spacecraft, causing it to reset its systems after eight days. NASA has yet to restore contact with the spacecraft, even after completing that power cycle on December 5.

"The ICON mission team is working to troubleshoot the issue and has narrowed the cause of the communication loss to problems within the avionics or radio-frequency communications subsystems. The team is currently unable to determine the health of the spacecraft, and the lack of a downlink signal could be indicative of a system failure.," NASA officials pronounced

NASA continues to work on troubleshooting the issue, as of December 20th there has been no major breakthroughs in re-establishing communications, according to a a NASA official familiar with the matter.

What Is ICON?

The Ionospheric Connection Explorer studies the frontier of space, which is the active zone high in our atmosphere where terrestrial weather meets space weather. This region of space and its changes have practical repercussions on our technology as this is the area through which radio communications and GPS signals travel, variations there can result in the disruption of signals. To better understand and manage this region of space, NASA has developed the ICON mission.

ICON launched aboard a Pegasus XL rocket from Cape Canaveral on October 11, 2019. You can learn more about the launch in our mission briefing.

Stay tuned for updates.