The Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) spacecraft, part of NASA’s on going mission to capture images and data from the Earth’s surface, “roared into space” atop an Atlas V rocket at 1:02 p.m.  Satellites operated by NASA have monitored Earth from space continuously for the past four decades.

“Landsat is a center piece of NASA’s Earth Science program,  It will extend the longest continuous data record of Earth’s surface as seen from space.

This data is a key tool for monitoring climate change and has led to the improvement of human and biodiversity health, energy and water management, urban planning, disaster recovery and agriculture monitoring.

Landsat spacecraft is expected to reach its “operational, sun-synchronous, polar orbit” about 440 miles above the Earth.

Control of the LDCM, the eighth in a series of NASA Landsat satellites first launched in 1972, will be transferred to the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in about three months when it goes fully operational, NASA said. At that point, the satellite will be renamed Landsat 8.

Landsat has been delivering invaluable scientific information about our planet for more than forty years. It  will continue to help us better understand our natural resources and help people like water managers, farmers, and resource managers make informed decisions.

LDCM is the best Landsat satellite ever built. The technology will advance and improve the array of scientific investigations and resource management applications supported by Landsat images.

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