NASA launched a satellite last night to explore the mysterious, dynamic region where air meets space. The satellite - called Icon, short for Ionospheric Connection Explorer- rocketed into orbit following a two-year delay. It was dropped from a plane flying over the Atlantic off the Florida coast. Five seconds after the satellite's release, the attached Pegasus rocket ignited, sending Icon on its way.
A NASA satellite launched last year, Gold, is also studying the upper atmosphere, but from much higher up. More missions are planned in coming years to study the ionosphere, including from the International Space Station.