Polymicro Technologies™ optical fiber
Lisle, IL

NASA's Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2), slated to be launched this year, will measure changes in Earth features, from melting ice sheets, to thinning sea ice, to growing trees. Specialty optical fiber from Molex will be used onboard ICESat-2 and in Ground Support Equipment (GSE) assemblies that enable integration and testing. The custom fibers are composed of high OH glass/glass fiber, including a glass core, glass cladding layer, acrylate buffer, and a protective Nylon outer jacket.

ICESat-2's photon-counting laser altimeter will measure the roundtrip time of individual laser photons reflecting off the ground and returning to the satellite's receiver telescopes at a rate of 10,000 laser pulses per second. By matching those times with the satellite's precise location in space, the mission will determine the elevation of features on Earth. ICESat-2's ability to precisely measure elevation will allow scientists to see where ice is flowing, melting, or growing, and to investigate the global impacts of these changes. It will build on key elevation observations of the cryosphere begun by the original ICESat satellite (2003 to 2009) and the Operation IceBridge airborne campaign (2009 to the present) to provide a continuous record of changes occurring in the 21st century. The 3,483-pound ICESat-2 will have a design life of three years and enough fuel to operate for seven years.

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