One Hundredth Drag Make-Up Maneuver for Landsat 8
On October 5, 2023, at 2:26:00 EST (18:26:00 GMT), the USGS Landsat Flight Operations Team executed the 100th Drag Make-Up Maneuver (DMU) on the Landsat 8 satellite. The DMU is used to counteract the effects of atmospheric drag on the spacecraft and maintain orbit circulation as well as maintain the strict constraints on the projected spacecraft ground track.
The USGS Landsat Flight Operations Team celebrated the event at the Landsat Mission Operations Center (LMOC) located at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC).
Recently, Landsat 8 celebrated 10 years in space; interestingly enough, DMU’s weren’t evenly distributed throughout the decade. The approximate 11 year-long Solar Cycle has a significant impact on the Earth’s atmosphere and subsequential atmospheric drag. Landsat 8 launched near the end of the previous period of high solar activity, so over the first half of its life, Landsat 8 DMU’s became more distantly spaced until they were executed two to three months apart at the absolute lull. The next peak of solar activity is approaching, so the flight operations team must perform DMU's every few weeks to maintain the orbit of the Landsat satellite.
Learn more about Landsat maneuvers at https://www.usgs.gov/landsat-missions/landsat-8-and-9-maneuvers.
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