Following a launch abort at 0130 GMT, the Pegasus XL rocket successfully launched at 0200 GMT, 11 October 2019, carrying the NASA ICON satellite to Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The ICON (Ionospheric Connection Explorer) satellite is part of the NASA Explorer programme providing launch opportunities for physics experiments. The flight took-off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, at 0031 GMT, on a course for the “drop box” over the Atlantic Ocean.


The Pegasus XL rocket is air-launched from a modified Lockheed L-1011 TriStar airliner, known as Stargazer. The rocket is carried underslung beneath the main body of the aircraft.

The ICON satellite will study changes to the Earth’s Ionosphere and how it interacts with the planet’s weather systems.