By Jim Cawley, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center
August 18, 2021 • The Landsat 9 satellite, targeted for launch on Sept. 23, 2021, on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex 3 at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, will continue the nearly 50-year legacy of previous Landsat missions. It is a joint NASA and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) mission that will continue the legacy of monitoring Earth’s land and coastal regions that began with the first Landsat in 1972.
Meet one of the key members of the team:
Name: Mark Mertz
Official title: Senior Launch Site Integration Manager
Job responsibilities: I am responsible for providing services and supporting spacecraft operations at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California for NASA’s Launch Services Programmissions. Examples include procuring payload processing facilities; providing commodities such as hydrazine, purge gases, and clean room supplies; and acting as on-console interface between launch vehicle and spacecraft personnel during integrated operations on the launch pad.
Time working for NASA: I have worked with NASA’s Launch Services Program since June 2004.
Degrees earned: Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech
Hometown: I grew up mostly on the central coast of California, on and around Vandenberg Space Force Base. I currently reside in Lompoc, CA.
Family: I have been married to my wife, Mary, since 1998. We have two sons, Matthew, 16, and Andrew, 14.
Hobbies: We enjoy touring mountains, deserts, and coastal areas around the western United States. There are so many amazing places to see, hike, and explore.
Fun fact: We sold all of our stuff and now live full time in a recreational vehicle. It makes it so much easier to tour places when you don’t have to pack!
Click here to read about Senior Vehicle Systems Engineer Matt Johnson.