Orbital ATK has been selected by NASA to build the next civilian land remote sensing satellite, Landsat 9. The satellite, which will be operated by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), will allow the continuation of global terrestrial imaging by extending the Landsat series of satellites to more than five decades of operation. Orbital ATK was awarded the Landsat 9 contract based on a number of factors, 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.

Landsat satellites provide useful imagery for those who work in fields such as agriculture, forestry, education, regional planning and global change research. For example, images from Landsat have shed light on the water crisis facing the western United States and the effects of climate change in Antarctica. Additionally, data from Landsat is crucial for emergency response and disaster relief.

Under the contract, Orbital ATK will design, manufacture and test the satellite in facilities in Gilbert, Arizona and will use the company’s LEOStar-3 platform, a medium-class low-Earth-orbit spacecraft successfully flown on Landsat 8 and NASA’s Fermi and Swift Gamma-ray astrophysics observatories. The company will also support launch, early orbit operations and on-orbit check-out of the observatory, which is scheduled for launch in December of 2020.

Artist rendering of Landsat 9 in orbit

More Information

NASA Landsat web page
USGS Landsat web page