Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

Sediments swirl around Lake Erie and Lake St.  Clair in a Landsat 9 image of Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario, from October 31st.  The Great Lakes serve as sources of freshwater, recreational activity, transportation, and habitat for the upper Midwestern United States, and water quality remains a high priority.

Sediments swirl around Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair in a Landsat 9 image of Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario, from October 31st. The Great Lakes serve as sources of freshwater, recreational activity, transportation, and habitat for the upper Midwestern United States, and water quality remains a high priority.

Adding to a collection that began five decades ago, the latest Landsat 9 spacecraft has delivered its first images of Earth from space.

The Earth observation satellite took off on September 27 aboard the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, which exploded from Vandenberg Space Force Base near Lompoc.

In addition to being launched from the central coast, the satellite built by Northrop Grumman also had a photovoltaic system manufactured at the company’s Goleta plant.

Landsat 9 was the latest in a series of satellites to the joint program involving NASA and the US Geological Survey, the first of which took place in 1972. All nine Landsat missions went to space from Vandenberg.

“Landsat 9’s first images capture critical observations of our changing planet and will advance this joint mission from NASA and the US Geological Survey, which provides critical data on Earth’s landscapes and coastlines seen from space,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “This program has proven ability to not only improve lives but also save lives.

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Among the first Landsat 9 images is one showing the Navajo nation. Landsat and other satellite data help people monitor crop health and manage irrigation water. With only 85 rain gauges to cover more than 27,000 square kilometers, satellite data and climate models fill the gaps to help the Navajo Nation monitor the severity of the drought. NASA / US Geological Survey

NASA will continue to work with the USGS to strengthen and improve the availability of Landsat data so that decision-makers in America – and around the world – better understand the devastation of the climate crisis, manage agricultural practices, conserve precious resources and respond more effectively to natural disasters . “

Photos show various locations around the world, including Detroit, Michigan, with neighboring St. Louis. Clair, a changing Florida coastline and Navajo Nation in Arizona to help monitor crop health and manage irrigation water.

The new images also provide data on the changing landscapes of the Himalayas in High Mountain Asia and the coastal islands and coastlines of northern Australia.

“First light is a major milestone for Landsat users. This is the first chance to really see the kind of quality that Landsat 9 delivers. And they look amazing, ”said Jeff Masek, NASA’s Landsat 9 project scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Center. “Once we have Landsat 9 operating in coordination with Landsat 8, it will be this wealth of data that allows us to monitor changes on our home planet every eight days.”

Landsat 9 carries two instruments that record images: Operational Land Imager 2 (OLI-2) and Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 (TIRS-2) to provide users with key information on crop health, irrigation use, water quality, wildfire severity, deforestation, glacial retreat, urban growth and much more.

The Landsat 9 team is conducting a 100-day checkout period involving testing of the satellite’s systems and calibration of its instruments in preparation for handing over the mission to the USGS in January. The USGS will operate Landsat 9 together with Landsat 8, and together the two satellites will collect about 1,500 images of the Earth’s surface each day, covering the globe every eight days.

Once officials have declared Landsat 9 operational, the data will be available to the public free of charge from the USGS website.

The launch of Landsat 9 was one of two high-profile NASA missions from the west coast this fall, the other being the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, to divert an asteroid from its path.

DART was launched on November 27 aboard a Space Exploration Technologies Falcon 9 rocket and will meet with the asteroid in late September or early October.

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