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Landsat 9: Ready for Launch

August 1, 2021

Landsat 9 is in its final preparations for launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base on 16 September 2021. It has completed its environmental testing at Northrop Grumman Space (NGSP) in Gilbert, Arizona and has been transported to its California launch site. It will be launched into a 705 km orbit replacing Landsat 7 to provide 8-day Earth land mass coverage in concert with Landsat 8. Landsat 8 carries the first Operational Land Imager (OLI) and the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS); Landsat 9 carries the second of each: OLI-2 and TIRS-2. Once launched it will undergo a 90-day activation, checkout, characterization and calibration, a.k.a. commissioning phase before transitioning to operations. For a several-day period during this commissioning phase, Landsat 9 will under-fly Landsat 8, allowing near simultaneous data collection by both sensors of common Earth targets. These data will be used to compare the radiometric calibrations of the instruments and allow for adjustments of processing parameters to provide more consistent data products.