Today, Landsat 9, a joint National Aeronauts and Space Administration (NASA) and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) satellite mission, successfully launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The Landsat program is the longest-running spacecraft series for acquisition of satellite imagery; it’s 49 years of providing continuous imagery of Earth’s land surface has transformed the field of Earth science. Landsat data, which are free and available to the public, have transformed scientists’ understanding of regional, national, and global-scale changes in land use and land cover, providing information for sectors including agriculture, forestry, urbanization, hydrology, and homeland security and disaster mitigation.
“It has never been more important for the United States to maintain its leadership in Earth science,” said Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). “Accomplishments in Earth science, thanks in part to data from the Landsat program, have enabled us to build a strong understanding of our planet and how it is changing, especially as we work to address the impacts of climate change. NASA plays a vital role in addressing the climate crisis, and this program is a great example of collaboration across the government in that effort. Landsat 9, in partnership with its sister satellite Landsat 8, will give the United States the ability to monitor Earth’s land surface changes on a regional, national, and global-scale. Over the past five decades, Landsat data have monitored land use changes, agricultural trends, and the impacts of extreme weather events and climate change—benefiting our economy, our preparedness for natural disasters, and our scientific understanding of our Earth system. I extend my congratulations to the teams at NASA and USGS for the success of today’s Landsat 9 launch. I look forward to seeing the satellite images released over the next several months and working with my colleagues to use the forthcoming knowledge as we take action to protect our planet and its people.”
“Landsat 9 will be a key component of the Landsat program for years to come, providing us with vital information about our own planet, including the effects human behavior has on our planet,” said Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairman Don Beyer (D-VA). “The information we get from this program is critical for informing our strategy to fight climate change, save key species, and protect the environment. This is an important accomplishment for NASA, and I congratulate their team for today’s successful launch.”