Officials from NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) discussed the upcoming launch of the Landsat 9 satellite during a media briefing at 10 a.m. EDT Tuesday, Aug. 31.
The Landsat 9 launch is targeted for no earlier than Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021.The media briefing will air live on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.
Data from Landsat 9 will add to nearly 50 years of free and publicly available data from the Landsat program. The Landsat program is the longest-running enterprise for acquisition of satellite imagery of Earth. It is a joint NASA/USGS program. Researchers harmonize Landsat data to detect the footprint of human activities and measure the effects of climate change on land over decades.
Once fully operational in orbit, Landsat 9 will replace Landsat 7 and join its sister satellite, Landsat 8, in continuing to collect data from across the planet every eight days. This calibrated data will continue the Landsat program’s critical role in monitoring land use and helping decision-makers manage essential resources including crops, water resources, and forests.
Briefing participants, in speaking order, are: • Karen St. Germain, director of NASA's Earth Science Division • Del Jenstrom, Landsat 9 project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland • Jeff Masek, Landsat 9 project scientist at Goddard • David Applegate, acting director of USGS • Birgit Peterson, geographer at USGS • Inbal Becker-Reshef, director of NASA’s Harvest food security and agriculture program.
NASA manages the Landsat 9 mission. Goddard teams also built and tested one of the two instruments on Landsat 9, the Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 (TIRS-2) instrument. TIRS-2 will use thermal imaging to make measurements that are used to calculate soil moisture and detect the health of plants.
The USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, will operate the mission and manage the ground system, including maintaining the Landsat archive. Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado, built and tested the Operational Land Imager 2 (OLI-2) instrument, another imaging sensor that provides data in the visible, near infrared, and shortwave infrared portions of the spectrum. United Launch Alliance is the rocket provider for Landsat 9’s launch. Northrop Grumman in Gilbert, Arizona, built the Landsat 9 spacecraft, integrated it with instruments, and tested the observatory.
Video of Landsat 9 media briefing, held August 31, 2021. Host: Tylar Greene - Earth Science Communications Lead, NASA Participants: Karen St. Germain - Earth Science Division Director, NASA Del Jenstrom - Landsat 9 Project Manager, NASA Jeff Masek – Landsat 9 Project Scientist, NASA Dave Applegate – Associate Director for Natural Hazards Exercising the Delegated Authority of the Director, USGS Birgit Peterson – Geographer, USGS Inbal Becker-Reshef - Program Director, NASA Harvest
Figure 2 (St. Germain) -- six datasets from multiple NASA instruments and models, layered to be time-synchronous. While scientists learn a great deal from studying each of these components individually, improved observational and computational capabilities increasingly allow them to study the interactions between these interrelated geophysical and biological parameters, leading to unprecedented insight into how the Earth system works—and how it might change in the future. Original visualization https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/31139
Figure 3 (St. Germain) -- Timeline of the Landsat program, from Landsat 1, which launched in 1972, through Landsat 9. The hashed lines for Landsats 7-9 indicate the uncertain lifespan of the satellites. Landsat 6 failed to reach orbit on launch. Animated version here https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/11433
Figure 5 (Jenstrom) -- photos showing the instruments being integrated with the Landsat 9 spacecraft, the observatory undergoing environmental testing, and being check out upon arrival at Vandenberg Space Force Base, followed by footage of the Landsat Multimission Operations Center at Goddard Space Flight Center.
Figure 8 (Applegate) -- animations demonstrating the vast amount of data collected by the Landsat program and archived at the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science Center. More video content here https://eros.usgs.gov/video-library/landsat
Figure 14 (Becker-Reshef) -- data visualizations and b-roll demonstrating Landsat applications for agriculture around the world. Full data visualization of the USDA Cropland Data Layer here https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/13417
GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 184.108.40.206.0