Landsat 8 Overview
Landsat 8 was launched on an Atlas V rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California on February 11, 2013. The satellite carries the Operational Land Imager (OLI) and the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) instruments.
Landsat 8’s first image captured the area where the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains meet in Colorado. The natural-color image shows the coniferous forest of the mountains coming down to the plains. Boulder, Colorado, sits in the middle of the image. Landsat 8’s Operational Land Imager (OLI) sensor was developed and built here by the Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation.
Ten years later the areas have changed. Since 1959, Boulder has limited the city’s residential growth to 1% annually. This decision slows urban sprawl, protecting the nearby mountains and local wildlife. New white roofs in the city center are likely commercial buildings. Today, top employers in the region include the University of Colorado Boulder, Ball Aerospace, Google, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Because of restricted housing growth, many citizens commute from nearby cities into Boulder.