Satellite will be latest in 40-year effort

Dec. 20, 2012 at 6:52 PM

VANDENBERG AFB, Calif., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- NASA says a satellite to be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California will further a 40-year record of measuring change on the planet from space.

The Landsat Data Continuity Mission, set for launch Feb. 11, 2013, is the eighth satellite in the Landsat series that began in 1972 and will make observations critical to energy and water management, forest monitoring, human and environmental health, urban planning, disaster recovery and agriculture, the space agency said Thursday.

"LDCM builds on and strengthens a key American resource: a decades-long, unbroken Landsat-gathered record of our planet's natural resources, particularly its food, water and forests," said Jim Irons, project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

The Landsat program is jointly managed by NASA and the U.S. Department of the Interior through the U.S. Geological Survey.

The satellite arrived at Vandenberg Thursday. Following final tests, it will be attached to an Atlas V rocket in preparation for launch.

After launch and the initial check out phase, USGS will take operational control of the satellite, NASA said, and the collected and archived data will be freely available though the USGS data system.

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