Welcome to the GLAS Homepage! The content
on this site will be static for the
forseeable future. For updates on GLAS and the ICESat spacecraft, please
visit the ICESat Homepage.
GLAS was sucessfully launched aboard the ICESat, from Vandenberg Air
Force Base, California on Sunday, January 12, 2003, at 7:45 p.m EST,
aboard Boeing's Delta II rocket. Read more...
GLAS (the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System) is the first laser-ranging
(lidar) instrument for continuous global observations of Earth. From aboard
the Ice Cloud and Elevation Satellite (ICESat) spacecraft, it will make unique atmospheric observations, including
measuring ice-sheet topography, cloud and atmospheric
properties, and the height and thickness of
radiatively important cloud layers needed for accurate short term
climate and weather prediction.
GLAS is the primary instrument
aboard the ICESat spacecraft. ICESat's primary objectives are to
determine the mass balance of the polar ice sheets and their contributions
to global sea level change, and to obtain essential data for prediction of
future changes in ice volume and sea-level. Secondary objectives are to
measure cloud heights and the vertical stucture of clouds and aerosols in
the atmosphere, to map the topography of land surfaces, and to measure
roughness, reflectivity, vegetation heights, snow-cover, and sea-ice
Above and left is GLAS on the ICESat spacecraft immediately following
its initial mechanical integration on June 18th, 2002. Note that ICESat's solar arrays have not yet been attached. Left - Gordon Casto,
NASA/GSFC. Right - John Bishop, Mantech. Courtesy of Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.