Live Coverage of Landsat 9 Begins

Landsat 9 on the launch pad.
The Landsat 9 satellite, a joint NASA/U.S. Geological Survey mission that will continue the legacy of monitoring Earth’s land and coastal regions, is scheduled for liftoff today from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California at 11:12 a.m. PDT (2:12 p.m. EDT). Photo credit: NASA TV

Hello, and welcome to NASA’s live coverage of the Landsat 9 mission! Tune in to NASA Television, the NASA app, or the agency’s website, or follow along here on the mission blog for a look at all of today’s major milestones.

Landsat 9 is a joint NASA and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) mission to monitor Earth’s land and coastal regions, scheduled to launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The 30-minute launch window begins at 11:12 a.m. PDT (2:12 p.m. EDT).

While today’s launch is managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the Landsat 9 mission. Our coverage on the blog originates from the NASA News Center at Kennedy.

Today’s launch marks the continuation of 50 years of the Landsat program’s critical role in monitoring the health of Earth and helping people manage essential resources, including crops, irrigation water, and forests. Images from Landsat 9 will be added to decades of free and publicly available data from the mission – the longest data record of Earth’s landscapes taken from space.

As part of NASA’s 34th Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa), this mission also will deploy multiple CubeSats after Landsat 9 separation: the Colorado Ultraviolet Transit Experiment (CUTE) from the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Cusp Plasma Imaging Detector (CuPID) from Boston University. CUTE will measure how near-ultraviolet light from a host star changes when an exoplanet passes in front of it and through a planet’s atmosphere, and CuPID will measure X-rays emitted when solar wind plasma collides with neutral atoms in Earth’s atmosphere.

Stay connected with the mission on social media, and let people know you’re following it on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the hashtag #Landsat and tag these accounts:

Twitter: @NASA, @NASAEarth, @NASA_Landsat, @NASASocial, @NASA_LSP, @NASA360, @SLDelta30
Facebook: NASA, NASA Earth, NASA LSP, SLDelta30
Instagram: NASA, NASAEarth, Vandenberg_AFB

Weather 90% Favorable for Today’s Launch

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket with NASA’s Landsat 9 satellite arrives at the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 3 (SLC-3) at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, on Sept. 27, 2021, after rolling out from the Vertical Integration Facility.
The United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket with NASA’s Landsat 9 satellite arrives at the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 3 (SLC-3) at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, on Sept. 27, 2021, after rolling out from the Vertical Integration Facility. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

NASA is targeting 11:12 a.m. PDT (2:12 p.m. EDT) today, Sept. 27, for launch of Landsat 9. The launch window is 30 minutes. The NASA-U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat 9 Earth-monitoring satellite will lift off atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

Weather officials with the U.S. Space Force’s Space Launch Delta 30 are predicting a 90% chance of favorable weather conditions for today’s launch, with ground winds serving as the primary weather concern.

Landsat 9 will continue the legacy of monitoring Earth’s land and coastal regions that began with the first Landsat satellite in 1972. Images from Landsat 9 will be added to nearly 50 years of free and publicly available data from the mission – the longest data record of Earth’s landscapes taken from space.

Beginning at 10:30 a.m. PDT (1:30 p.m. EDT), join us here on the blog for live coverage, and follow along on NASA TV or the agency’s website for the live launch broadcast.

Televised Prelaunch Briefing Tomorrow for Landsat 9

Landsat 9 spacecraft lift and mate operations take place.
The Landsat 9 spacecraft is lifted for mating to the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at Space Launch Complex 3 at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Sept. 15, in preparation for liftoff targeted for Sept. 27. Photo credit: USAF 30th Space Wing/Pedro Caril

NASA will hold a prelaunch briefing tomorrow, Sept. 25, at 1 p.m. PDT (4 p.m. EDT), for Landsat 9, the NASA and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) joint mission to monitor Earth’s land and coastal regions.

Briefing participants are:

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V booster for NASA’s Landsat 9 mission is positioned inside the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 3 at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, prior to mating with the Landsat spacecraft.
The United Launch Alliance Atlas V booster for NASA’s Landsat 9 mission is positioned inside the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 3 at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, prior to mating with the Landsat spacecraft. Photo credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin
  • Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator, NASA Science Mission Directorate
  • Karen St. Germain, Director, NASA Earth Science Division
  • Tanya Trujillo, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, Dept. of Interior
  • Michael Egan, Landsat 9 Program Executive, NASA Earth Science Division
  • Tim Dunn, NASA Launch Director, Launch Services Program
  • Scott Messer, Program Manager, United Launch Alliance
  • Addison Nichols, Weather Officer, Space Launch Delta 30

Watch the briefing live on NASA TV.

Meteorologists with the U.S. Space Force’s Space Launch Delta 30 predict a 90% percent chance of favorable weather for launch on Monday morning, with liftoff winds around 10 knots posing the main concern.

Launch coverage will begin at 10:30 a.m. PDT (1:30 p.m. EDT) on Sept. 27. You can follow the countdown milestones here on the blog and on the NASA website.

Stay connected with the mission on social media, and let people know you’re following it on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the hashtag #Landsat and tag these accounts:

Twitter: @NASA, @NASAEarth, @NASA_Landsat, @NASASocial, @NASA_LSP, @NASA360, @SLDelta30
Facebook: NASA, NASA Earth, NASA LSP, SLDelta30
Instagram: NASA, NASAEarth, Vandenberg_AFB

NASA’s Landsat 9 Science Briefing on Tap Today

Landsat satellite image of the sands and seaweed in the Bahamas.
Since 1972, Landsat has monitored Earth’s land and coastal regions, contributing to nearly 50 years of free and publicly available data from the mission – the longest data record of Earth’s landscapes taken from space. In this Landsat satellite image, the sands and seaweed in the Bahamas create multicolored, fluted patterns. Photo credit: NASA/GSFC/Landsat

Officials from NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will discuss the launch of the Landsat 9 satellite during a science briefing at 10 a.m. PDT (1 p.m. EDT) Friday, Sept. 24.

The Landsat 9 launch is targeted to lift off Monday, Sept. 27, from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, with the 30-minute launch window starting at 11:11 a.m. PDT (2:11 p.m. EDT). The science 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:

  • Jeff Masek, Project Scientist, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight CenterLandsat 9 mission logo
  • Chris Crawford, Project Scientist, USGS
  • Alyssa Whitcraft, Associate Director and Program Manager, NASA Harvest Consortium
  • Del Jenstrom, Landsat 9 Project Manager, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Brian Sauer, Landsat 9 Project Manager, USGS
  • Sabrina Chapman, Manager, System Engineering, Northrop Grumman Space Systems
  • Sarah Lipscy, OLI-2 Senior Engineer, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy Space Center, is managing the launch. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center will manage the mission. Teams from Goddard 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.

For more information about Landsat, visit: https://landsat.gsfc.nasa.gov and https://www.usgs.gov/landsat.

Learn more about NASA’s Launch Services Program at: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/launchingrockets/index.html.

Stay connected with the mission on social media, and let people know you’re following it on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the hashtag #Landsat and tag these accounts:

Twitter: @NASA, @NASAEarth, @NASA_Landsat, @NASASocial, @NASA_LSP, @NASA360, @SLDelta30
Facebook: NASA, NASA Earth, NASA LSP, SLDelta30
Instagram: NASA, NASAEarth, Vandenberg_AFB

NASA and United Launch Alliance Review Landsat 9 Launch Date

The Landsat 9 spacecraft inside the Integrated Processing Facility at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California
Inside the Integrated Processing Facility at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, both United Launch Alliance (ULA) payload fairings are secured around the Landsat 9 spacecraft on Aug. 16, 2021. Photo credit: USSF 30th Space Wing/Chris Okula

NASA and United Launch Alliance currently are reviewing the launch date for the Landsat 9 spacecraft scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. 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. Airgas converts the liquid nitrogen to gaseous nitrogen needed for launch vehicle testing and countdown sequences. DLA and Airgas now have implemented efforts to increase the supply of liquid nitrogen to Vandenberg. The Landsat 9 launch now is expected no earlier than Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021.

Landsat 9 is a joint NASA and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) mission that continues the legacy of monitoring Earth’s land and coastal regions, which began with the first Landsat in 1972. The mission will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 3 at Vandenberg.

Orion Points at the Moon with Launch Abort Tower

Teams with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) and contractor Jacobs integrated the launch abort system (LAS) with the Orion spacecraft inside the Launch Abort System Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 23, 2021.
Teams with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) and contractor Jacobs integrated the launch abort system (LAS) with the Orion spacecraft inside the Launch Abort System Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 23, 2021. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Ahead of the Artemis I lunar-bound mission, teams at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center joined the launch abort tower to the Orion spacecraft on July 23. Working inside the spaceport’s Launch Abort System Facility, engineers and technicians with Exploration Ground Systems and primary contractor, Jacobs, lifted the system above the spacecraft and coupled it with the crew module.

The launch abort system is designed to protect astronauts if a problem arises during launch by pulling the spacecraft away from a failing rocket. Although there will be no crew Artemis I, the launch abort system will collect flight data during the ascent to space and then jettison from the spacecraft.

Next, teams will install four ogives – the protective panels that shield the upper portion of the spacecraft during its entry into orbit. Once final checkouts are complete, Orion will be integrated with the Space Launch System rocket.

Artemis I Rocket Grows Closer to Launch

Teams with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs integrate the interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS) for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the launch vehicle stage adapter (LVSA) atop the massive SLS core stage in the agency’s Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 5, 2021.
Teams with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs integrate the interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS) for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the launch vehicle stage adapter (LVSA) atop the massive SLS core stage in the agency’s Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 5, 2021. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
Teams with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs integrate the interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS) for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the launch vehicle stage adapter (LVSA) atop the massive SLS core stage in the agency’s Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 5, 2021.
The ICPS is a liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen-based system that will fire its RL 10 engine to give the Orion spacecraft the big in-space push needed to fly tens of thousands of miles beyond the Moon. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Leerlo en español aquí.

The Artemis I mission reached another milestone this week inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. On July 5, teams with Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs stacked the interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS) atop the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

The ICPS’s RL 10 engine is housed inside the launch vehicle stage adapter, which will protect the engine during launch. The adapter connects the rocket’s core stage with the ICPS, which was built by Boeing and United Launch Alliance.

The ICPS will fire its RL 10 engine to send the  Orion spacecraft toward the Moon. Its European-built service module will provide the power to take the spacecraft on a journey tens of thousands of miles beyond the Moon.

Before attaching the Orion spacecraft to the rocket, teams will conduct a series of tests to assure all the rocket components are properly communicating with each other, the ground systems equipment, and the Launch Control Center.

The ICPS moved to the VAB on June 19, after technicians in the center’s Multi-Payload Processing Facility completed servicing the flight hardware inside.

Launching in 2021, Artemis I will be an uncrewed flight test of the Orion spacecraft and SLS rocket as an integrated system ahead of missions with astronauts. Under Artemis, NASA aims to land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon and establish a long-lasting presence on and around the Moon while preparing for human missions to Mars.

View additional photos here.