The Landsat 9 observatory will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California at 11:12 a.m. PDT (2:12 p.m. EDT).
Here’s a look at some of today’s upcoming countdown and ascent milestones. All times are approximate:
– 00:16:00 Initiate fuel fill sequence
– 00:05:00 Fuel fill sequence is complete; water deluge system actuation pressure adjustment is performed; Atlas L02 at flight level; Centaur L02 at Flight level; Centaur LH2 at flight level
– 00:04:00 NAM and NLM final launch polls – go to continue countdown; spacecraft transfers to internal power
– 00:04:00 Hazardous gas monitoring is complete; automatic computer sequencer takes control for all critical events through liftoff; Atlas first stage LO2 replenishment is secured, allowing the tank to be pressurized for flight
– 00:03:00 Atlas tanks reach flight pressure
– 00:02:00 Atlas first stage and Centaur second stage switch to internal power; L02 and LH2 topping for Centaur will stop in 10 seconds
– 00:01:30 Launch control system is enabled
– 00:00:00 Ignition and liftoff of the Atlas V
LAUNCH AND SPACECRAFT DEPLOYMENT Hr/Min/Sec Event
00:01:27 Max Q (moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket)
00:04:02 Atlas booster engine cutoff (BECO)
00:04:08 Atlas Centaur separation
00:04:18 Centaur first main engine start (MES-1)
00:04:26 Payload fairing jettison
00:16:30 Centaur first main engine cutoff (MECO-1)
01:20:40 Landsat 9 separation
01:50:43 Centaur second main engine start (MES-2)
01:50:53 Centaur second main engine cutoff (MECO-2)
02:10:53 Centaur third main engine start (MES-3)
02:11:03 Centaur third main engine cutoff (MECO-3)
02:14:05 Begin CubeSat Deployment
02:19:28 End CubeSat Deployment
02:57:44 Centaur fourth main engine start (MES-4)
02:58:09 Centaur fourth main engine cutoff (MECO-4)
03:19:56 End of 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.
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:
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.
With two days to go until liftoff of Landsat 9, the NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) joint mission to monitor Earth’s land and coastal regions, everything is on track for Monday’s planned launch, with the 30-minute launch window starting at 11:12 a.m. PDT (2:12 p.m. EDT).
The launch team adjusted the launch window by one minute to avoid the CloudSat and Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) spacecraft, which are circling the globe in an orbit near the one planned for Landsat 9.
“Landsat is the ninth mission in a series, and it is an absolutely critical piece of NASA’s science portfolio,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator, NASA Science Mission Directorate. “NASA has had an amazing year of science, launching a lot of technologies to Mars and deep space, and this mission is one of those dedicated to looking at our most beautiful planet.”
The U.S. Space Force’s Space Launch Delta 30 is predicting an 90% chance of favorable weather conditions for the launch. The primary weather concerns are ground winds.
The historic mission has remained on track, despite challenges from a worldwide pandemic, including current pandemic demands for medical liquid oxygen that impacted the delivery of the needed liquid nitrogen supply to Vandenberg by the Defense Logistics Agency and its supplier Airgas. Airgas converts the liquid nitrogen to gaseous nitrogen needed for launch vehicle testing and countdown sequence.
“We certainly had our challenges with the pandemic and liquid nitrogen supply chain issues causing a seven-day delay,” said Launch Director Tim Dunn of NASA’s Launch Services Program. “We’re back on track, and I’m personally thrilled to be the launch director for Landsat 9. The NASA engineers and analysts, working alongside our United Launch Alliance colleagues, take great pride in launching this mission.”
Landsat 9 is scheduled to lift off aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy Space Center, is managing the launch.
“The 9th Landsat will contribute a great understanding of what’s happening to the surface of our Earth,” said Karen St. Germain, director of NASA Earth Science Division. “It will provide vital foundational knowledge. Its power is really released when we combine the data from Landsat with our other Earth science missions. The data can tell us not just what is happening, but why.”
Landsat 9, managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, will carry two instruments: the Operational Land Imager 2, which collects images of Earth’s landscapes in visible, near-infrared and shortwave infrared light, and the Thermal Infrared Sensor 2, which measures the temperature of land surfaces.
“There’s no doubt that the Landsat mission is at the core of the Department of the Interior’s important work,” said Tanya Trujillo, assistant secretary for Water and Science that the Department of the Interior. “We work every day to protect our natural resources and cultural heritage and provide scientific information about those resources that our communities can rely on.”
When it launches, Landsat 9 will join its predecessors in helping scientists track changes to Earth’s land surfaces at a scale that shows natural and human-caused change. Currently, both Landsat 7 and Landsat 8 are in a near-polar orbit of our planet. Each satellite repeats its orbital pattern every 16 days, with the two spacecraft offset so that each spot on Earth is measured by one or the other every eight days. Landsat 9 will join Landsat 8 in orbit and will replace Landsat 7, taking its place in orbit.
“For nearly 50 years, Landsat satellites have documented Earth’s changing landscapes, said Michael Egan, Landsat 9 program executive for NASA’s Earth Science Division. “As the Earth’s population approaches 8 billion people, Landsat 9 will continue to provide consistent data about the changing land cover and land use of our planet.”
Two small research satellites that are launching as part of NASA’s 34th Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) mission promise exciting insights for the university researchers that developed them. The CubeSats will launch as secondary payloads when Landsat 9 lifts off at 11:11 a.m. PDT (2:11 p.m. EDT) Monday, Sept. 27, from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
Landsat 9, launching aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, is a joint mission between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey and will continue a nearly 50-year legacy of Earth-observing Landsat satellites. The two CubeSats will hitch a ride in the spacecraft’s secondary payload adapter.
CUTE aims to provide a better understanding of atmospheric loss on all types of planets by measuring atmospheric escape rates from giant exoplanets. Atmospheric escape is the loss of mass from a planet’s atmosphere over time. This phenomenon can affect a planet’s long-term physical properties, including the sizes of extrasolar planets and the habitability of rocky planets.
CUTE will target 10 to 12 exoplanets during its eight-month science mission, conducting a survey of heavy elements, such as iron and magnesium, escaping from the atmospheres of the most extreme planets in the galaxy.
“Measuring atmospheric escape rates allows astronomers and planetary scientists to better understand the physics behind atmospheric loss,” said Dr. Kevin France, associate professor in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder and principal investigator of the CUTE mission. “This in turn allows us to better understand the atmospheres of known planets and predict the properties of extrasolar planets we have not yet discovered.”
The spacecraft will carry out its mission using a magnifying spectrograph fed by a rectangular Cassegrain telescope. CUTE is sponsored by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate Astrophysics Division.
CuPID will study how energy from the Sun is deposited into the Earth’s magnetosphere – a protective bubble around our home planet. This mission could solve long-standing questions on space weather and solar wind magnetosphere coupling. CuPID will measure X-rays in space using a novel wide field-of-view telescope to image reconnection signatures in the magnetosphere. Reconnection occurs when the Sun is active enough that its magnetic field fuses with the Earth’s. Using this soft X-ray telescope, CuPID will generate first-of-their-kind images of this phenomenon.
“Launch is scheduled to occur during a lecture of an orbital dynamics course I’m teaching this fall. I plan to have the class online watching. I’m not sure I could think of a better real-world example of the material,” said Dr. Brian Walsh, CuPID’s principal investigator, and professor of Mechanical Engineering and member of the Center for Space Physics at Boston University.
The CuPID mission, led by Boston University in Massachusetts, is a collaboration with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland; Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts; Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks; and is supported by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate Heliophysics Division and Small Satellite Project Office.
NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) selected the CubeSats assigned to the ELaNa 34 mission by NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP) based at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. LSP manages the ELaNa manifest, and CSLI provides launch opportunities for small satellite payloads built by universities, high schools, NASA Centers, and non-profit organizations.
To date, NASA has selected 202 CubeSat missions, 122 of which have been launched into space, with 43 more missions scheduled for launch within the next 12 months. The selected CubeSats represent participants from 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 102 unique organizations. CSLI’s 2021 Announcement of Partnership Opportunity is open for CubeSat proposals until Nov. 19, 2021.
Stay connected with these CubeSat missions on social media by following NASA’s Launch Services Program on Facebook and Twitter.