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Landsat 9 Passes Last Key Decision Point Before Launch

Landsat 9 Passes Last Key Decision Point Before Launch

By Laura E.P. Rocchio, Landsat Communication and Public Engagement

L9 observatory at VSFB
The Landsat 9 observatory being lifted for a move onto a fixed structure inside the Integrated Processing Facility at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on July 12, 2021. Details. Photo credit: NASA KSC

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!”

L9 mission lifecycle phases
A timeline of Landsat 9 mission development and lifecycle; launch is slated for September 2021 aboard a ULA Atlas V 401. This week, Landsat 9 passed KDP-E review.

Banner Image Caption: The Landsat 9 observatory being lifted onto the fixture structure. Photo credit: Anthony Men, USSF 30th Space Wing

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