When it comes to sustaining human life, observing Earth from space is just as important as exploring the Moon and Mars. NASA and USGS successfully launched the Landsat 9 satellite today as the next in the series of Landsat satellites, originating in 1972, that provide unrivaled imagery and information on our home planet and the health of its ecological systems. Data pulled from the new cameras and infrared thermal sensors will add to the extensive library of data provided by its predecessors and will enable scientists to continue to track and study our changing planet.
Engineers with ASRC Federal have worked side-by-side with NASA on multiple contracts to develop the Landsat 9 satellite, its two new science instruments and its ground system. According to NASA, Landsat 9 will enable informed decision support for key areas such as tropical deforestation and global forest dynamics, urban expansion, water use, coral reef degradation, glacier and ice-shelf retreat, and natural and man-made disasters.
“I’m proud of our teams’ broad expertise and seamless cooperation with our partners in supporting the full life cycle of this satellite, from engineering to outreach to ground operations,” said George Morrow, vice president of the robotic exploration and weather division at ASRC Federal and former Acting Director of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. “As the newest member of NASA’s Earth-observing constellation, Landsat 9 will sharpen the view of our planet’s systems and continue our exemplary record of continuous historical data.”
ASRC Federal’s Contributions
- At NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the ground test control system for the Thermal Infrared Sensor – 2 (TIRS-2) was developed under the SES II contract;
- PAAC V personnel assisted with project support at various levels including communications outreach with this video on Landsat 9 as a key contribution Landsat9 (nasa.gov), STEM engagement, and ground operations logistics support at the launch site and at the operations control center once the satellite is in orbit;
- SEAS personnel provided mission assurance and engineering oversight for both the development of the main Landsat 9 TIRS-2 instrument and the development of the Landsat 9 spacecraft bus, provided Landsat 9 spacecraft bus power system engineering support and oversight, and provided systems engineering and integration and test support throughout development and at the launch site. The Atlas V launch vehicle will also be carrying additional small satellites.
- The WESC contract team at Wallops Flight Facility supported the fabrication, test, and integration of an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA), a ring-shaped structure capable of ejecting small, secondary payloads into orbit.
- For over a year, our staff at Fairbanks Command and Data Acquisition Station (FCDAS) have worked closely with USGS preparing the ground station for the Landsat 9 launch and follow-on operations. FCDAS will serve as the primary ground station for USGS Landsat 9. Landsat 9 launch was successful along with the first of many contacts that FCDAS will complete over the next 90 days as its orbit is stabilized with science equipment being tested and brought online.
- Finally, the KIAC contract team at Kennedy Space Center helped to broadcast the launch on Monday.
For more information on Landsat 9, visit https://landsat.gsfc.nasa.gov/landsat-9/landsat-9-overview.
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