Landsat 9, an advanced land surface mapping satellite, will collect space-based images and data that serve as valuable resources for researchers in areas that include agriculture, land use mapping, emergency response and disaster relief. Orbital ATK is designing and manufacturing the satellite, integrating two government-furnished instruments, and supporting launch, early orbit operations and on-orbit check-out of the observatory.
Representatives from NASA and Orbital ATK recently completed a successful Preliminary Design Review (PDR) which demonstrated that the spacecraft meets all system and schedule requirements. The Landsat 9 spacecraft will be manufactured and tested at the company’s Gilbert, Arizona, facility and is currently planned for launch in late 2020. The spacecraft will be operated by the U.S. Geological Survey once in orbit. Landsat 9 will extend the length of the overall Landsat program to half a century, providing the longest continuous record of the Earth’s surface as seen from space. Orbital ATK has built three other Landsat satellites, including Landsat 8, which was launched in 2013, and is providing high quality images in quantities that surpass mission requirements. The company was also responsible for the successful Landsat 4 and Landsat 5 satellites launched in 1982 and 1984.
The Preliminary Design Review occurred from July 18 to 20 at Orbital ATK’s facility in Gilbert, Arizona, where Landsat 9 is being designed, manufactured and tested by the company’s Space Systems Group. Landsat 9 is based on Orbital ATK’s flight-proven LEOStar-3 spacecraft bus platform, the same that was successfully used on Landsat 8. The Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation satellite (ICESat-2) and the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-2) spacecraft are also based on the LEOStar-3 bus platform and currently in development for NASA at Orbital ATK’s Gilbert facility.
According to Steve Krein, VP of Science and Environmental Programs at Orbital ATK, as the fourth Landsat satellite built by Orbital ATK, Landsat 9 aptly demonstrates the company’s expertise in delivering high-quality land imaging satellites that exceed the expectations of our customers. Based on NASA’s positive assessment of the company's progress, Orbital ATK is well positioned to build on the firm's legacy of Landsat success and execute on the next phase of development.