Landsat 9

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Landsat 9
Mission typeEarth imaging
OperatorNASA / USGS
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerNorthrop Grumman (Orbital ATK)
Start of mission
Launch dateDecember 2020 (2020-12)[1]
RocketAtlas V 401
Launch siteVandenberg SLC-3E
ContractorUnited Launch Alliance
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric

Landsat 9 is a planned US, Earth observation satellite, initially scheduled for launch in December 2020.[1] NASA is in charge of building, launching, and testing the system, while the United States Geological Survey (USGS) will process, archive, and distribute its data.[2] Its intended as the eighth satellite in the Landsat series, as Landsat 6 failed to reach orbit. As of October 2017, the United Launch Alliance is planning for a launch date of June 2021 using an Atlas V 401 rocket, and will lift off from the Space Launch Complex 3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base.[3] The critical design review was completed by NASA on March 1, 2018, and Orbital ATK was given the go-ahead to manufacture the satellite.[4]


The design and construction of Landsat 9 was assigned by NASA, under a delivery order contract to Orbital ATK, in October 2016. The purchase cost of $129.9 million is part of a five-year contract between the two entities. The budget that provides for initial work on Landsat 9 also calls for research into less expensive and smaller components for future Landsat hardware.[2]

Landsat 9 will largely replicate the functions of its predecessor Landsat 8. The former will include near-identical copies of remote sensors: the Operational Land Imager (OLI) and the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) instruments – optical and thermal sensors respectively – that will be designated OLI-2 and TIRS-2;[5] the latter will be upgraded to a risk class B implementation (high priority, high national significance, high complexity[6]), while no changes will be applied to OLI-2.[7] OLI-2 will collect data for nine spectral bands with a ground sample distance (GSD) of 30 m for all bands except the panchromatic band, which has a 15 m GSD.[8] Design changes to the TIR-2 are intended to address the stray light and Scene Select Mechanism (SSM) encoder problems experienced with the TIRS on Landsat 8.[5] Testing and assessment of the TIR-2 demonstrate the stray light magnitude has been reduced to 1%.[9]


Landsat 9 has a contracted launch date of June 2021, though United Launch Alliance will be able to launch the spacecraft as soon as December 2020 if it is ready.[10] This is 4–5 years after the end of Landsat 7's mission design lifetime, and near the end of its maximum (fuel supply) lifetime. Funding decisions may change the launch date. The Launch Services Program (LSP) at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) will control the launch services, which is planned to be launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Landsat 9". NASA Landsat Science. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  2. ^ a b "NASA, USGS Begin Work on Landsat 9 to Continue Land Imaging Legacy". NASA. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  3. ^ Russell, Kendall (October 20, 2017). "NASA Awards Launch Contracts for Landsat 9, Sentinel 6A". Satellite Today. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  4. ^ Datta, Anusuya (March 20, 2018). "Orbital ATK to start manufacturing Landsat 9 as spacecraft passes critical design review". Geospatial World. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  5. ^ a b Markham, Brian L.; et al. (September 2016). "Landsat 9: status and plans". Proceedings of the SPIE. 9972: 6. Bibcode:2016SPIE.9972E..0GM. doi:10.1117/12.2238658. ISBN 9781510603356. 99720G.
  6. ^ "Risk Classification for NASA payloads" (PDF). NASA.
  7. ^ "Landsat 9 Science Instrument Details « Landsat Science". Retrieved 2017-04-07.
  8. ^ "Landsat 9 Science Instrument Details « Landsat Science". Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  9. ^ Montanaro, Matthew; et al. (November 5, 2018). "Landsat 9 Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 Preliminary Stray Light Assessment". IGARSS 2018 - 2018 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium. doi:10.1109/IGARSS.2018.8519394.
  10. ^ Clark, Stephen (23 October 2017). "SpaceX, ULA win NASA contracts to launch Earth observation satellites". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 24 October 2017.

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