NASA launches new earth observation satellite
WASHINGTON, Feb 11, 2013 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --
NASA's latest Earth-observation
satellite, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM), roared into
space on Monday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the
U.S. space agency announced.
The spacecraft is the eighth satellite in the history of the
Landsat program, a joint NASA/United States Geological Survey (
USGS) project that has been monitoring forest loss, glacial
retreat, urban sprawl and other phenomena continuously since
Landsat 1 lifted off in July 1972.
The satellite will eventually settle into a polar orbit with an
altitude of 438 miles (705 kilometers). NASA will conduct key
checkouts of the spacecraft over the next three months, after
which it will be turned over to the USGS for operations and
renamed Landsat 8.
"Landsat is a centerpiece of NASA's Earth Science program, and
today's successful launch will extend the longest continuous data
record of Earth's surface as seen from space," NASA Administrator
Charles Bolden said in a statement.
"This data is a key tool for monitoring climate change and has
led to the improvement of human and biodiversity health, energy
and water management, urban planning, disaster recovery and
agriculture monitoring -- all resulting in incalculable benefits
to the U.S. and world economy," said Bolden.
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