The Most Powerful Earth-Watching Satellite Launches Today

Landsat 8 satelliteA artist’s rendering shows the Landsat satellite in orbit around Earth.

Photo: NASA

The eighth satellite in NASA’s Earth-watching Landsat fleet will launch Monday, Feb. 11 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.  The launch is targeted for 1:02 p.m. on the East Coast.

The first Landsat satellite launched in 1972. The joint program between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey is the longest-running data record of Earth observations from space. The latest launch continues that legacy. 

Landsat 8 will circle Earth about 14 times each day from 438 miles above our planet, beaming back images of Earth’s landscape and polar regions. It will image the entire Earth every 16 days. 

The satellite provides resolution down to about 100 feet, meaning you could see something like a baseball field. 

This will be the “best data that have ever been collected from a Landsat satellite,” says NASA scientist Jim Irons. 

The Landsat program enables scientists to track major changes of Earth’s surface, including melting glaciers, urban explosion and the effects of natural disasters

You can watch the live stream of the launch on NASA TV

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