The latest Earth observation satellite goes into space

Landsat 9 launch.


Photo: Bill Ingalls/NASA

Landsat 9, a NASA satellite for observing the Earth’s surface, was successfully launched into space Monday evening, September 27, 2021, from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. This 2.7-ton Advanced Earth Observation Satellite is a joint mission of NASA and the US Geological Survey (USGS) and was successfully launched into space by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The Norwegian satellite station, Svalbard, received the first signals from Landsat 9 about 83 minutes after launch, indicating that the satellite was operating as expected. The Landsat 9 satellite was built by Northrop Grumman and the contract to build this Earth observation satellite was $750 million.

“NASA is using the unique resources of our unprecedented fleet, as well as the tools of other nations, to study our planet and its climate systems,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “With a 50-year database to build on, Landsat 9 will take this invaluable world-class program to the next level. We look forward to working with our partners the USGS and the Department of the Interior again. We never stop improving our work to understand our planet. “.

“Today’s successful launch is an important milestone in the nearly 50-year partnership between the US Geological Survey and NASA, who have worked together for decades to gather valuable scientific information and use that data to shape policy with the utmost scientific integrity,” the Home Secretary said. Deb Haaland. “As the impact of the climate crisis deepens in the United States and around the world, Landsat 9 will provide data and images that can help make science-based decisions on key issues such as water use, the impact of wildfires, coral reef degradation, glacier retreat, glacier floods, and regional deforestation. tropical”. The first Landsat satellite was launched in 1972. Since then, NASA has kept Landsat in orbit to collect images of the physical materials covering the surface of our planet and changes in Earth’s use. These images allow researchers to observe phenomena such as agricultural productivity, forest size and health, water quality, coral reef habitat health and glacier dynamics.

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“Landsat’s mission is unique,” said Karen Saint-Germain, director of the Earth Sciences Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “For nearly 50 years, Landsat satellites have monitored our planet and provided an unparalleled view of Earth’s surface changes over timescales from days to decades. Thanks to this partnership with the USGS, we are able to provide continuous and timely data to users, starting from From farmers to resource managers and scientists, this data can help us understand, predict and plan for the future in a changing climate.” Landsat 9 joins its sister satellite, Landsat 8, in orbit. The two satellites will work together and will collect images of the entire planet every eight days. “Landsat 9 will be our new eye in the sky when it comes to observing our changing planet,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science. “By collaborating with other Landsat satellites and with our European Space Agency partners that operate the Sentintel-2 satellites, we are getting a more comprehensive view of the Earth than ever before. As these satellites work together in orbit, we have observations every Monday from any A place on our planet, which is very important for tracking things like crop growth and helping policy makers monitor the overall health of the Earth and its natural resources.”

Instruments on board the Landsat 9, Operational Ground Imaging Instrument 2 (OLI-2) and Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 (TIRS-2) measure eleven wavelengths of light reflected or emitted from the Earth’s surface, both in the visible and other wavelengths. Far beyond our eyes can comprehend. As the satellite orbits the Earth, these devices will take pictures at a distance of 185 kilometers. Each pixel in these images represents an area about 100 feet wide, roughly the size of a baseball field. This high accuracy allows administrators to select most fields in the United States. “Launches are always exciting, and today was no exception,” said Jeff Masek, NASA Landsat 9 project scientist. “But the best part for me, as a scientist, will be when the satellite starts delivering the data people have been waiting for, cementing Landsat’s legendary reputation in the data user community.”

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The United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) Earth Resources Science and Monitoring Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, processes and stores data from the instruments and continuously adds this information to five decades of data from all of the Landsat satellites. All Landsat images and data contained in them are free and publicly available, a policy that has resulted in more than 100 million downloads since its inception in 2008.

Source: NASA

Winton Frazier

 "Amateur web lover. Incurable travel nerd. Beer evangelist. Thinker. Internet expert. Explorer. Gamer."

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