CloudSat is a satellite which uses millimeter-wavelength radar to measure the altitude and properties of clouds. Advanced cloud-profiling radar gathers information on the vertical structure of highly dynamic cloud systems. This new information provides the first global measurements of cloud properties that will help scientists compile a database of cloud measurements to improve how clouds are represented in global climate and numerical weather prediction models.
Delta II was an expendable launch system, originally designed and built by McDonnell Douglas. Delta II was part of the Delta rocket family and entered service in 1989. Delta II vehicles included the Delta 6000, and the two later Delta 7000 variants ("Light" and "Heavy"). The rocket flew its final mission ICESat-2 on 15 September 2018, earning the launch vehicle a streak of 100 successful missions in a row, with the last failure being GPS IIR-1 in 1997.