NASA is all set to launch a new Earth-observing satellite and it will be streamed live.
The new satellite called Landsat 9, the satellite is a joint endeavor by NASA, and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) is scheduled to blast off on Sept. 27 at 11:12 a.m. PDT from Space Launch Complex 3 at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket.
“The United Launch Alliance team is very proud to deliver Landsat 9 to its mission orbit, and we look forward to continuing to empower crucial observation and research of this beautiful planet, We’ve successfully launched 144 missions as United Launch Alliance, and we look forward to continuing that 100% mission success with our 145th launch on Monday,”SAID SCOTT MESSER, ULA PROGRAM MANAGER, NASA LAUNCH SERVICES DURING A PRELAUNCH NEWS BRIEFING ON SATURDAY (SEPT. 25).
The Landsat launch was originally scheduled for Sept. 16 but was postponed to Sept. 27 following a delay in crucial liquid nitrogen delivery due to the ongoing pandemic.
“Current pandemic demands for medical liquid oxygen have impacted the delivery of the needed liquid nitrogen supply to Vandenberg by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and its supplier Airgas,”NASA said in a statement explaining the reason for postponing the launch from Sept 16.
The date gets further postponed due to the launch of SpaceX’s Starlink which delayed moving the satellite to the launchpad.
The Landsat 9 program cost around $750 million, is the 9th satellite to be launched under the Landsat program, to monitor and manage land resources like crops, water, and forests.
The first Landsat satellite was launched in 1972, which provided invaluable resources to the scientists about the ground and is continuing to provide uninterrupted ground data for more than 50 years now.
The Landsat 9 satellite will replace the Landsat 7 satellite, which has been in Earth’s orbit since 1999 and will work with Landsat 8, launched in 2013. The Landsat 8/9 duo is expected to image the Earth’s surface every eight days.
The Landsat images were first made public in 2008 which helped many scientists around the world to study the geography of the Earth.
“The free and open access of the Landsat data is an incredibly valuable resource. In fact, Landsat is second only to GPS in terms of value.”Chris Crawford, a project scientist at USGS, said during the prelaunch news conference on Saturday.
Landsat 9 satellite will carry two different scientific instruments — the Operational Land Imager 2 (OLI-2) and the Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 (TIRS-2) — that will analyze light reflected from the planet in different wavelengths to detect even the minute changes in the geography of Earth.
Meanwhile, the Landsat 9 satellites will be accompanied by four small satellites called Cubesats, responsible for performing a variety of scientific investigations like taking measurements of the solar wind and ultraviolet light from stars.