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Landsat 9, NASA’s strongest Landsat satellite tv for pc ever, is ‘go’ for launch on Monday

NASA has cleared its latest highly effective Earth-observing satellite tv for pc for a launch into orbit from the California coast on Monday (Sept. 27).

The satellite tv for pc, referred to as Landsat 9, is on monitor to elevate off from the Vandenberg Space Force Base atop an Atlas V rocket offered by the United Launch Alliance. Liftoff is focused for two:12 p.m. EDT (11:12 a.m. PDT or 1812 GMT)

“The spacecraft, the Atlas V rocket, all vary tools, are prepared,” NASA launch director Tim Dunn informed reporters in a press convention Saturday (Sept. 25). The mission has a 30-minute window by which to elevate off from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex 3E, he added. 

Four small cubesats can even launch into orbit with Landsat 9. Two will research the photo voltaic wind and exoplanet atmospheres as a part of NASA analysis. Two others are flying undisclosed missions for the U.S. Space Force, Dunn mentioned.

In pictures: Earth Pictures From Space: Landsat Satellite Legacy

An artist's illustration of NASA's Landsat 9 Earth observation satellite in orbit.

An artist’s illustration of NASA’s Landsat 9 Earth commentary satellite tv for pc in orbit. (Image credit score: NASA)

Landsat 9 would be the ninth and most superior satellite tv for pc to check Earth from above for the Landsat program, a joint effort by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey that has offered fixed imagery of our planet for practically 50 years. It carries a high-resolution digicam and a delicate infrared sensor that collectively can picture the Earth throughout 11 spectral bands and resolve objects all the way down to about 50 toes (15 meters) huge. The satellite tv for pc ought to orbit the Earth at altitude of about 438 miles (705 kilometers) over the planet’s poles.

“For practically 50 years, Landsat satellites have documented Earth’s altering panorama,” Michael Egan, NASA’s Landsat program supervisor, mentioned within the press convention. “Landsat 9 will enhance and develop upon this unparalleled report of our dwelling planet.”

Landsat 9 will be capable of picture your complete Earth each 16 days. When mixed with knowledge from its predecessor Landsat 8, which launched in 2013 and continues to be in use as we speak, the 2 satellites can cowl your complete Earth each eight days, Egan mentioned. Landsat 9 is designed to final a minimum of 5 years in orbit and exchange the getting older Landsat 7, which can be in use as we speak.

Landsat satellites have been finding out the Earth since 1972. That steady protection is essential to monitoring Earth’s modifications, particularly because the planet experiences extra excessive climate, highly effective storms, fires and different results from local weather change, mission officers mentioned.

“As we all know, local weather change is actual,” mentioned Tanya Trujillo, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science on the Department of the Interior within the press convention. “The Landsat program is a wonderful software to assist information our efforts to know and doc the modifications we’re seeing every day.”

Northrop Grumman constructed the $750 million Landsat 9 for NASA, with the mission’s staff shaving about $90 million off its preliminary price range, Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s affiliate administrator for science missions, informed reporters Saturday. 

It’s been a protracted street to the launchpad for Landsat 9. The satellite tv for pc was initially purported to launch on Sept. 16, however was delayed to Sept. 23 on account of a liquid nitrogen scarcity associated to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. High winds prompted one other delay to Sept. 27. 

The mission can even launch a minute later than deliberate to keep away from a collision probability with NASA’s Calypso/CloudSat satellite tv for pc in orbit, Dunn mentioned. Currently, climate forecasts predict a 60% probability of excellent circumstances at launch time. 

If NASA and the United Launch Alliance are unable to launch Landsat 9 on Monday, a backup launch window is accessible on Tuesday, with related climate circumstances anticipated. 

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the staff in 2001 as a employees author, and later editor, protecting human spaceflight, exploration and house science. He turned Space.com’s Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before becoming a member of Space.com, Tariq was a employees reporter for The Los Angeles Times. He can be an Eagle Scout (sure, he has the Space Exploration benefit badge) and went to Space Camp 4 occasions as a child and a fifth time as an grownup. He has journalism levels from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his newest mission, you may comply with Tariq on Twitter.

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