The Vital Role of ICESat Data Products


The Vital Role of ICESat Data Products

About the Speaker

Dr. Douglas D. McLennan has been at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) for over 23 years and has been instrumental in the development and management of Earth Science, Earth Observatory and Planetary missions. Dr. McLennan began his career managing the development of the six instruments and the AQUA spacecraft for the Earth Observing System (EOS) mission.

After the successful completion of the mission, Dr. McLennan was appointed Deputy Project Manager for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) Series N-Q. In 1999, Dr. McLennan was promoted to Project Manger of the Space Technology 5 (ST-5) mission. The ST-5 mission consisted of three micro-sat satellites integrated into a single suite.

In 2005, Dr. McLennan was appointed as Project Manager to the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) mission. The SAM instrument was successfully delivered, integrated and tested as part of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover.

Currently, Dr. McLennan is the Project Manager of ICESat-2 mission. The ICESat-2 mission is the next cryo-spheric remote sensing satellite mission providing coverage of the Earth’s surfaces. Dr. McLennan received his PhD from Georgetown University, Washington DC.


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Changes in Ice sheet thicknesses, sea level, and sea ice extent have been explicitly identified as a current priority in the President’s Climate Change Science Program, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, the 4th Assessment Report of the IPCC and other national and international policy documents. In response the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) formulated the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) mission to continue the exploration and understanding of our planet. The ICESat-2 is a remote sensing satellite mission providing coverage of the Earth’s surfaces.

The ICESat-2 mission will provide multi-year elevation data needed to determine ice sheet mass balance. It will also provide topography and vegetation data around the globe, in addition to the polar-specific coverage over the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.

The ICESat-2 observatory is comprised of one instrument, a laser altimeter called ATLAS (Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System). ATLAS is a laser altimeter, utilizing a measurement technique known as photon counting, which is designed to measure ice-sheet topography and associated temporal changes.

This presentation will focus on the role of ICESat-2 mission as we monitor the changes in the global cryosphere and the generation and subsequent distribution of data products to the user community. An overview of the mission will also be presented.


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Publication Date



Grand Forks, ND

The Vital Role of ICESat Data Products