NASA will launch the newest Landsat satellite on Monday. This satellite is loaded with instruments used to observe changes on Earth, including those associated with long-term climate change. The launch sends the eighth satellite in the Landsat series into orbit. The launch window is scheduled between 11:02 and 11:50 AM. The satellite is aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V that will lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
NASA says the "Landsat fleet has provided the world with unprecedented information on land cover changes and their residual effects since 1972. The knowledge gained from 40 years of continuous data contributes to research on climate, carbon cycle, ecosystems, water cycle, biogeochemistry and changes to Earth's surface, as well as our understanding of visible human effects on land surfaces. Building off that research, the Landsat imaging data set has, over time, 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."
The majority of the Landsat Mission's older satellites are retired. Number 8 will join 5 and 7 in monitoring conditions on Earth. Landsat 6 was launched in 1993 but failed to reach orbit because of a loss in communication with scientists on the ground. This rendered the satellite unusable.