Landsat-9 has been lifted by NASA high into the sky to become one of the over 2,700 artificial satellites that revolve around the Earth. The lift-off took place from a Vandenberg Space Force Base, and the satellite was attached to an Atlas rocket, according to the BBC. Landsat-9 belongs to a series of Earth-observing spacecraft.
Landsat-9 will keep a permanent “eye” on Earth. The satellite will continue the legacy of its predecessor spacecraft that cataloged the development of huge cities, farming, as well as forests, deserts, coasts, and more.
“An amazing history”
Dr Jeff Masek, who is the project scientist of Landsat-9, declared as quoted by the BBC:
We’ve assembled an amazing history of how the planet has changed over the last half century,
For example, we’re able to see the natural disturbances that occur, (such as) fires, hurricanes, and insect outbreaks; and then the long-term recovery of ecosystems that takes place for decades after that.
And we’re able to look specifically at climate and climate-change impacts on ecosystems. We’ve mapped areas of increased plant cover at high latitudes due to a warming climate. We’ve also seen areas of vegetation decline in water-limited semi-arid environments.
When it comes to the building, launching, and testing of Landsat-9, NASA is in charge. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) takes care of the operation part, and it also manages and distributes the data archive.
The part of the construction and design of Landsat 9 was assigned by NASA and under a delivery contract to Orbital ATK, back in October 2016. A five-year contract between the two entities was made, while the purchase cost reached $129.9 million.
The launch of Landsat 9 came 4-5 years after the end of the mission design lifetime of Landsat 7.