Pictured during final checkout in Astrotech’s payload processing facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base, LDCM, which is soon to be numerically renamed “Landsat 8,” will continue a proud, 40-year heritage of Earth observation. Photo Credit: NASA

Landsat Data Continuity Mission Primed and Ready for 11 February Launch

By Ben Evans

Four decades of critical observations of the Home Planet will continue in spectacular style on Monday, 11 February, with the scheduled liftoff of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. This is the eighth satellite in a lengthy collaborative effort between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, and it will provide moderate-resolution observations of Earth’s terrestrial and polar regions at visible and infrared wavelengths. Like its predecessors, the data from LDCM will support future land planning, disaster response, water-use monitoring, and, more generally, keep watch over the planet’s climate, its ecosystems, its water cycle, and its surface and interior. Liftoff is presently scheduled to occur from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex (SLC)-3 during a 48-minute window on Monday, which opens at 10:02 a.m. PST (1:02 p.m. EST).

Originally conceived in the mid-1960s as the Earth Resources Technology Satellite, one of the Landsat program’s fundamental instruments—its multispectral scanner—was completed and tested a few months after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon. The first mission in the series roared into near-polar orbit on 23 July 1972, also from Vandenberg, and three years later the project’s name was changed to “Landsat.” Solar overheating caused it to be shut down in January 1978, but it was merely the start of a remarkable journey.

Read more: Landsat Data Continuity Mission Primed and Ready for 11 February Launch « AmericaSpace.

Home           Top of page