Landsat Spacecraft Launches
NASA – The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas-V rocket with the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) spacecraft onboard is seen as it launches on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) mission is a collaboration between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey that will continue the Landsat Program’s 40-year data record of monitoring the Earth’s landscapes from space. Image Credit: United Launch Alliance
29-year-old Landsat 5
USGS/NASA – The USGS has brought the aging satellite back from the brink of failure on several occasions, but the recent failure of a gyroscope has left no option but to end the mission.
Now in its 29th year of orbiting the planet, Landsat 5 has long outlived its original three-year design life. Developed by NASA and launched in 1984, Landsat 5 has orbited the planet over 150,000 times while transmitting over 2.5 million images of land surface conditions around the world.
“This is the end of an era for a remarkable satellite, and the fact that it flew for almost three decades is a testament to the NASA engineers and the USGS team who launched it and kept it flying well beyond its expected lifetime,” stated Anne Castle, Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science. “The Landsat program is the ‘gold standard” of satellite observation, providing an invaluable public record of our planet that helps us tackle critical land, water, and environmental issues.” more> http://tinyurl.com/acb3o9m
Landsat Data Continuity Mission Awaits Liftoff
NASA – Launched by NASA in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) will add a new chapter to an enduring program. Since 1972, Landsat has enabled people around the globe to observe our planet’s land masses. The enhanced images that will be provided by improved Landsat data come at a time when such information is vitally important.
“With increasing population, and with advances in technology, our land cover and land use are currently changing at a rate unprecedented in human history,” said Jim Irons, LDCM project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. more> http://tinyurl.com/aejgbz3
The LDCM spacecraft separated from the rocket 79 minutes after launch and the first signal was received 3 minutes later at a ground station in Svalbard, Norway. The solar arrays deployed 86 minutes after launch, and the spacecraft is generating power from them. LDCM is on course to reach its operational, sun-synchronous, polar orbit 438 miles (705 kilometers) above Earth within two months.
“Landsat is a centerpiece of NASA’s Earth Science program, and today’s successful launch will extend the longest continuous data record of Earth’s surface as seen from space,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. “This data is a key tool for monitoring climate change and has led to the improvement of human and biodiversity health, energy and water management, urban planning, disaster recovery and agriculture monitoring — all resulting in incalculable benefits to the U.S. and world economy.” more> http://tinyurl.com/ae6cvzx
- New Landsat Earth-monitoring satellite launched from California, Irene Klotz, Reuters