LDCM (Landsat) On track for launch early Monday


Technicians begin checkout of NASA’s Landsat Data Continuity Mission, or LDCM, satellite at the Astrotech processing facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Image credit: NASA

The Landsat Data Continuity Mission is a GO for a launch in the early morning hours Monday Feb, 11 2013. NASA’s Landsat Data Continuity Mission spacecraft aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is cleared for flight. The weather forecast remains excellent. The only change is that the overnight temperatures will be lower than originally forecast. The gantry will be retracted from around the Atlas V at 5:22 a.m. and the loading of cryogenic propellants will begin at 8:02 a.m.

The Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) is NASA’s eighth satellite in the Landsat series and continues the Landsat program’s critical role in monitoring, understanding and managing the resources needed for human sustainment such as food, water and forests. The Landsat Mission is one of the longest in Earth Observation spanning over 40 years. As our population surpasses seven billion people, the impact of human society on the planet will increase, and Landsat monitors those impacts as well as environmental changes.

Originally part of the NPOESS program, but later split off on it’s own due to program delays and cost, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) is the future of Landsat satellites. It will continue to obtain valuable data and imagery to be used in agriculture, education, business, science, and government. The Landsat Program provides repetitive acquisition of high resolution multispectral data of the Earth’s surface on a global basis. The data from the Landsat spacecraft constitute the longest record of the Earth’s continental surfaces as seen from space. It is a record unmatched in quality, detail, coverage, and value.



LDCM placed in Launch Faring

You can watch the launch here on NASA TV.

Spacecraft: Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM)
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V-401
Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex-3E
Launch Date: Feb. 11, 2013
Launch Time: 10:02 – 10:50 a.m. PST

About the author

Recipient of many prestigious NASA Awards including the Exceptional Public Service Medal and the Robert H. Goddard award. Experience includes working for NASA, as a contractor, in satellite design, construction and operations. Expert in the satellite operations concepts and ground systems including command, control, and science data processing.