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.