Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite

Tracked Earth's ice sheets

The Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) is the benchmark Earth Observing System mission for measuring ice sheet mass balance, cloud and aerosol heights, as well as land topography and vegetation characteristics. From 2003 to 2009, the ICESat mission provided multi-year elevation data needed to determine ice sheet mass balance as well as cloud property information, especially for stratospheric clouds common over polar areas. It also provided topography and vegetation data around the globe, in addition to the polar-specific coverage over the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.

Mission Class:

Larger Missions

Mission Status:


LASP Roles:

Mission Operations

Science Target:

Earth's Surface

Mission Focus:

Aerosols, Climate, Earth's Surface, Weather

Launch Date: January 13, 2003
Decomission Date: August 17, 2010

Lead Institution: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Partners: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, University of Texas at Austin, National Snow and Ice Data Center