The Landsat 8 satellite and our planet. Credit: NASA

Landsat 8 Satellite Launch: Saving And Making Money With Earth Observations

By Bente Lilja Bye | February 11th 2013 12:20 PM

NASA has got the hang of it now. Creating an almost unbearable suspense before the launching of a new satellite, that is. Actually, the last time NASA tortured us with excitement was in connection with a landing, and not a launching. I am of course referring to Curiosity’s landing on Mars. That went well, to put it mildly. Both the ‘show’ and now the results that are ticking in from the mission. Currently it is drill baby, drill mode on Mars!

Back on Earth, today Landsat 8 is about to be launched. I will be following that live, and so should you. Adding to the experience, I thought I’d share with you some fun facts and reflections on the Landsat program, including telling you why Landsat 8 is a brilliant investment.

Brief history
The Landsat program started already back in 1972 so last year Landsat celebrated its 40th anniversary. The first satellite missions in the Landsat series lasted relatively short periods of time. They were certainly short if compared with the longest-operating Earth observation satellite, Landsat 5. In fact, this mission lasted so long it made it to Guinness Book of Records being in operation for 28 years and 10months.

Today’s NASA mission goes under the name LDCM (Landsat Data Continuity Mission) but it will become Landsat 8 when USGS takes over the operation once it flies properly. It is a fantastic program and you will understand why in a bit.

Read more: Landsat 8 Satellite Launch: Saving And Making Money With Earth Observations — Science 2.0.

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