Landsat 9, a joint mission between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), continues the program’s role of repeat global observations for monitoring, understanding and managing Earth’s natural resources — this is the fourth Landsat satellite built by Northrop Grumman for NASA.
The Landsat 9 spacecraft will collect space-based images and data that will aid researchers in areas including agriculture, land use mapping, forestry and water resource management. Landsat 9 is based on Northrop Grumman’s flight proven LEOStar-3 platform, and extensively leverages the design of the Landsat 8 spacecraft, also built by Northrop Grumman.
Leading up to launch, the company integrated the Ball Aerospace Operational Land Imager (OLI-2) and Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS-2) instruments, provided the satellite’s propellant tank, developed the solar array that powers the spacecraft and conducted full observatory environmental testing. Northrop Grumman completed work on the Landsat 9 satellite at its Gilbert, Arizona, San Diego, Commerce and Goleta, California facilities.
For the ULA Atlas V rocket, Northrop Grumman produced the 10-foot diameter composite heat shield, which provides higher performance with lower weight, and essential protection for the first stage of the launch vehicle from engine exhaust temperatures in excess of 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The assembly was fabricated using advanced fiber placement manufacturing techniques at Northrop Grumman’s Iuka, Mississippi facility. The company also manufactured the attitude control propellant tank for the Atlas V at its Commerce, California facility.
“Landsat data constitutes the longest continuous record of Earth’s surface as seen from space,” said Steve Krein, vice president, civil and commercial satellites, Northrop Grumman. “As a trusted NASA partner, this spacecraft builds upon Northrop Grumman’s long history of delivering Earth observing spacecraft and continues the legacy of Landsat for years to come.”