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Advanced Earth surveillance satellite readies for liftoff

Bill Ingalls
The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket with the Landsat 9 satellite onboard is seen, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, after the mobile launcher platform (MLP) was rolled back at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The Landsat 9 satellite is a joint NASA/U.S. Geological Survey mission that will continue the legacy of monitoring Earth’s land and coastal regions.

This interview is from SDPB's daily public-affairs show, In the Moment, hosted by Lori Walsh.

Landsat 9 is the most advanced satellite to study Earth from above for the United States Landsat program. It's a joint effort from NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. We preview today's launch and what it means for studying our planet.

Bill Ingalls

NASA recently launched Landsat 9. It’s the latest in a string of satellites providing images of Earth for the past 50 years.

Kevin Gallagher is with the U.S. Geological Survey, which operates the program. He says Landsat 9 is more powerful than the satellite it’s replacing.

“The Landsat 9 satellite far surpasses that by being able to see if you will into the infrared and provide data and images to the Earth that really expand its capabilities to do things like monitor water, crops and agriculture, support things like food supply worldwide, monitor climate-change impacts, crop health, and land-cover change.”

Bill Ingalls

The satellite downloads data every day to the Earth Resources Observation and Science Center, known as EROS [AIR-ose]. That’s near Sioux Falls.

EROS also houses the backup control center for the satellite. It’s believed to be the first time any facility in South Dakota has had the ability to control an object in space.

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