Artist's Conception
Concept of the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat), launched January 2003. Image courtesy of Ball Aerospace.
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Closeout of the ICESat spacecraft prior to installation on the launch vehicle. Image courtesy of Ball Aerospace.
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Rocket Payload
ICESat spacecraft after installation on the Delta II rocket payload, at Vanderburg Air Force Base. Image courtesy of Ball Aerospace.
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Hektoria Glacier
Image map over Hektoria Glacier, Antarctica, with three ICESat/GLAS tracks from the eight-day missions. Image from Scambos et al. 2004.
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Artist's conception
ICESat spacecraft
Hektoria Glacier


NSIDC distributes 15 Level-1 and Level-2 data products from the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) instrument that was aboard the NASA Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation (ICESat) satellite. Launched on 12 January 2003, after seven years in orbit and 18 laser-operations campaigns, the ICESat's science mission ended due to the failure of its primary instrument.

The main objective of the GLAS instrument was to measure ice sheet elevations and changes in elevation through time. Secondary objectives included measurement of cloud and aerosol height profiles, land elevation and vegetation cover, and sea ice thickness.

To navigate this Web site, use the menu to the left. For news about the latest happenings with ICESat/GLAS data, see the News page. For more information about GLAS data that NSIDC provides, see the Data Sets page which lists individual products that NSIDC distributes. See the Current Release Schedule page for a listing of the most current version of GLAS data available; and for a detailed description of the current data release, see the Description of Current Data Release page.