The most recent satellite to join the venerable Landsat program’s fleet launched on September 27, 2021 from Vandenberg Space Force Base.
The sensors aboard Landsat 9 align closely with those affixed to Landsat 8, with improvements that allow for the detection of more subtle changes, particularly over darker areas like deep water or dense forests.
Landsat 9 takes the place of Landsat 7. Together with Landsat 8, the two operational satellites record the highest-quality imagery collected in the program’s 50-year history over nearly the entire Earth’s surface every eight days.
The first images from Landsat 9 were released in late December of 2021, during the monthslong commissioning phase of the mission. Landsat 9 imagery was released to the public in early 2022. By mid-March of that year, the satellite had already collected more than 88,000 Earth surface images.
NASA transferred operations of Landsat 9 to the USGS in 2022.