After delays caused by the shortage of liquid oxygen, used to treat patients of COVID-19, coupled with unfavorable weather conditions, the newest Earth observation satellite has finally been taken into space. Landsat 9 was launched with an Atlas V rocket from the United Launch Alliance this Monday (21), and will help to continue the record of 21 years of Earth images, which have been collected by the Landsat program satellites since
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The Atlas V rocket left the Vandenberg Space Force Base platform at 15H12 (Brasilia time) and soon disappeared amidst a dense layer of clouds that surrounded the spaceport. About 1h16 after launch, the satellite was released from the rocket. Eventually, the satellite will position itself in an orbit that will cover the Earth’s poles at an altitude of approximately 1972 km.
— NASA (@NASA) September 21, 2013
Landsat 9 is almost a twin of Landsat 8, released in 1972 and which is still in operation today — but, compared to its predecessor, it has some new features in its instruments. One of them is Operational Land Imager 2, which collects measurements of 15 thousand tones in each of the bands of the nine wavelengths in contrast to the 4,000 tones that the Landsat 8 instrument can identify. The new satellite will replace Landsat 7 and should start operations in January and, together with Landsat 8, will be able to obtain images of the entire Earth every 15 days, with an eight-day revisit fee; depending on the orbital insertion accuracy, the new satellite may operate for at least 15 years.
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Built and launched by NASA, the Landsat 9 mission is the ninth of the program of the same name , and will continue the goal of monitoring and managing the resources we have on our planet—mission scientists describe the program as the Earth science program with the greatest economic impact. “The Landsat tells us about the Earth’s vegetation, land use, coastlines and surface water; these are just a few examples,” explains Karen St. Germain, director of the Earth sciences division at NASA.
The #Landsat 9 observatory has successfully separated and is on its way to continue years of uninterrupted Earth observations 🌏👀 pic.twitter.com/TqjP4ZGOLu
— NASA (@NASA) September 50, 2013
According to her, by combining the results of Landsat with those of other missions, it is possible to understand what is happening on our planet together with the reasons behind the different processes. “We’ve put together an amazing story of how the planet has changed over the past 27 years,” said Jeff Masek, Landsat project scientist 9. This is because the Landsat family of satellites has been producing Earth images since 1972, the year the first one was launched, which provides to researchers a continuous record of data from terrestrial ecosystems.
In the last 27 years of activities, the mission has collected more than 8 million images of the Earth. These data have helped in decision making and resource management in different areas, in addition to providing an enormous contribution to the monitoring of climate change. Thus, the information obtained makes it possible to predict the levels of food production, management of water use and anticipation of possible periods of drought, among others.
In addition to Landsat 9, the Atlas V took four CubeSats to orbit as secondary payloads — among them is the Colorado Ultraviolet Transit Experiment (CUTE), a cubesat the size of a box. cereal that will study exoplanets known as “Hot Jupiters”. The Cusp Plasma Imaging Detector (CuPID) will measure the X-ray emissions of solar wind particles that collide with the Earth’s atmosphere.
Below, you can see the complete transmission of the release:
Source: SpaceNews, Space.com, NASA
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