On Tuesday, August 10, 2021, the Landsat 9 project passed its final major lifecycle approval gateway.
The milestone, known as Key Decision Point E (KDP-E), took place just a month shy of Landsat 9’s targeted launch. The observatory is now officially approved to proceed to launch and operations.
The NASA Science Mission Directorate Program Management Council that presided over the KPD-E meeting extolled the joint NASA and U.S. Geological Survey Landsat 9 team for the impeccable readiness of this mission, especially during a time of pandemic upheaval.
The Council reiterated the importance of Landsat 9 to the country and the nearly five-decade unbroken Earth-observation record of the Landsat program.
Del Jenstrom, the Landsat 9 Project Manager for NASA, commended the mission team for the stellar work of getting Landsat 9 through this critical KDP-E milestone in excellent shape.
Landsat 9 will enter Phase E of its mission lifecycle in January 2022 after its on-orbit checkout.
Currently, Landsat 9 is being prepared for launch at Vandenberg Space Force Base (VSFB) near Lompoc, CA; it will be rolled-out to the launch pad on its United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 401 rocket later this month.
As Jenstrom told his team, “Go Landsat 9!”
Safeguarding freshwater resources is crucial, and while scientists use a variety of ground-based techniques to gauge water quality, the Landsat program has provided water quality data from orbit for decades.