NASA plans to launch a new and advanced satellite for studying the Earth on Monday. The satellite is called Landsat 9, and as its name suggests it is the ninth satellite in the line to head into orbit. Landsat satellites have been in orbit and imaging the Earth for the last five decades. The satellite has seval high-tech instruments aboard.
The satellite images the planet using eleven different spectral bands and can resolve objects on the surface from orbit down to about 50-feet wide. It’s orbit will place the satellite about 438 miles above the surface of the planet, orbiting over the poles. It’s orbit will allow the satellite to image the planet completely every 16 days.
Landsat 8 is still in orbit and functioning since it was placed there in 2013. Images are still being gathered by Landsat 8 right now. Between the two satellites they are able to image the entire planet every 8 days. NASA expects Landsat 9 to function for five years, and is a replacement for Landsat 7, which is currently still functional.
NASA launched its first Landsat in 1972 and the satellite has provided continuous coverage of changes on Earth since then. Landsat 9 was very expensive with a price tag of $750 million. It was built by Northrop Grumman and despite the high cost of the satellite, it was built with $90 million chopped off the initial price.
Monday’s launch will come after the satellite missed its original launch date of September 16. The reason that launch date was missed was a shortage of liquid nitrogen. Once the liquid nitrogen was available, the launch was delayed again due to high winds pushing it to September 27. NASA does have a backup launch window should another delay arise, that backup launch would happen on Tuesday.