The US satellite pictures the ground too clearly

2022-05-02 0 By

Landsat 9, a joint MISSION of NASA and the United States Geological Survey (USGS), passed a post-launch evaluation review and is now operational.The USGS plans to begin releasing Landsat 9 data to the public in early February, continuing the Landsat program’s nearly 50-year record of imaging Earth from orbit.Landsat 9 was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on September 27, 2021.The mission team made contact with the spacecraft shortly after it separated from the rocket and has since been working to test, calibrate and debug the new satellite and its instruments.”The images from Landsat 9 are fantastic,” said Del Jenstrom, Landsat 9 project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.I could not be more proud of our joint agency and contractor team for executing a very thorough and successful on-orbit commissioning campaign to get this important mission up and running.”One of the commissioning activities was to fly Landsat 9 in orbit below its sister satellite Landsat 8, imaging the same land area at roughly the same time, which allowed the team to confirm that the radiometric measurements and geometry of the data were as expected.They also calibrated the instrument through a variety of methods, including imaging the full moon with a tilted Landsat 9 spacecraft, which is a stable source of light to ensure the instrument can steadily detect light.This also confirmed that the thermal infrared sensor 2, or TIRS-2, on the new satellite did not affect stray light issues with the first version of the instrument on Landsat 8.This will allow researchers to take more accurate measurements of surface temperature, said Jeff Masek, NASA Landsat 9 project scientist.Masek says the TIRS-2 and Landsat 9’s other instrument, Operational Land Imager 2, or OLI-2, performed flawlessly on their intended performance.This means that with both Landsat 9 and Landsat 8 in orbit, there will be high-quality, medium-resolution images every eight days.He said he was looking forward to seeing how new data on earth’s landscapes and coastal areas could be used.This will double the frequency of such high-quality data, which will benefit research in areas such as snow cover, crop monitoring and water quality.NASA is leading the pilot campaign and will soon hand over operational control of the two Landsat 9 instruments to the U.S. Geological Survey, which will distribute and archive the data.Command of the spacecraft itself and the mission will be transferred to the USGS in May, after the team completes a software update that will address the radiation susceptibility found by the team while examining data recorders.Mitigation measures have proved successful and software updates will ensure that they continue in an automated manner.”Landsat 9 is unique among Earth observation missions because it carries the honor of extending 50 years of Landsat observations into the next 50 years,” said Dr. Chris Crawford, Landsat 9 project scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey.Landsat 9 enhances Landsat 1-8’s spatial resolution, spectral continuity, and coincidental acquisition of reflected and emitted thermal infrared image data.Landsat 9 ensures eight-day global land and offshore revisit coverage in collaboration with Landsat 8 in orbit.”The Landsat 9 launch was managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.In July, Landsat plans to mark 50 years since the first Landsat satellite was launched.Since then, the program has provided continuous coverage of the earth’s land surface, enabling scientists and resource managers to track the effects of land cover, land use and climate change, and monitor natural resources.