NASA has awarded aerospace and defense technology major Orbital ATK a contract to build Landsat 9, an advanced land surface mapping satellite to be operated by the US Geological Survey (USGS). Scheduled for launch in December of 2020, Landsat 9 will extend the Landsat programme’s record of global terrestrial imagery to half a century, the Dulles, Virginia-headquartered firm said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Orbital ATK is honoured to have been selected to build the next Landsat satellite,” said Steve Krein, Vice President of Science and Environmental Programmes at Orbital ATK.
“Landsat represents over four decades of imagery, providing valuable data for agriculture, global change research, emergency response, and disaster relief. We’re proud to build upon the success of our previous Landsat projects with the delivery of this new satellite,” Krein noted.
Under the contract, Orbital ATK will design and manufacture the satellite, integrate the two government furnished instruments with the spacecraft and support launch, early orbit operations and on-orbit check-out of the observatory.
Orbital ATK has a long history of supporting Landsat satellites including the success of the company-designed and built Landsat 8 satellite, which was launched in 2013.
The company was also responsible for the successful Landsat 4 and Landsat 5 satellites launched in 1982 and 1984.