Landsat 8 Satellite Begins Watch

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May 30, 2013

George Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Steve Cole
Headquarters, Washington

Kate Ramsayer
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Jon Campbell
U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Va.

RELEASE: 13-160


WASHINGTON -- NASA transferred operational control Thursday of the 
Landsat 8 satellite to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in a 
ceremony in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The event marks the beginning of the satellite's mission to extend an 
unparalleled four-decade record of monitoring Earth's landscape from 
space. Landsat 8 is the latest in the Landsat series of 
remote-sensing satellites, which have been providing global coverage 
of landscape changes on Earth since 1972. The Landsat program is a 
joint effort between NASA and USGS.

NASA launched the satellite Feb. 11 as the Landsat Data Continuity 
Mission (LDCM). Since then, NASA mission engineers and scientists, 
with USGS collaboration, have been putting the satellite through its 
paces -- steering it into its orbit, calibrating the detectors, and 
collecting test images. Now fully mission-certified, the satellite is 
under USGS operational control.

"Landsat is a centerpiece of NASA's Earth Science program," said NASA 
Administrator Charles Bolden in Washington. "Landsat 8 carries on a 
long tradition of Landsat satellites that for more than 40 years have 
helped us learn how Earth works, to understand how humans are 
affecting it and to make wiser decisions as stewards of this planet."

Beginning Thursday, USGS specialists will collect at least 400 Landsat 
8 scenes every day from around the world to be processed and archived 
at the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science Center in Sioux 
Falls. The newest satellite joins Landsat 7, which launched in 1999 
and continues to collect images. Since 2008, USGS has provided more 
than 11 million current and historical Landsat images free of charge 
to users over the Internet.

"We are very pleased to work with NASA for the good of science and the 
American people," said U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in 
Washington. "The Landsat program allows us all to have a common, 
easily accessible view of our planet. This is the starting point for 
a shared understanding of the environmental challenges we face."

Remote-sensing satellites such as the Landsat series help scientists 
observe the world beyond the power of human sight, monitor changes to 
the land that may have natural or human causes, and detect critical 
trends in the conditions of natural resources.

The 41-year Landsat record provides global coverage at a scale that 
impartially documents natural processes such as volcanic eruptions, 
glacial retreat and forest fires and shows large-scale human 
activities such as expanding cities, crop irrigation and forest 
clear-cuts. The Landsat Program is a sustained effort by the United 
States to provide direct societal benefits across a wide range of 
human endeavors including human and environmental health, energy and 
water management, urban planning, disaster recovery, and agriculture.

With Landsat 8 circling Earth 14 times a day, and in combination with 
Landsat 7, researchers will be able to use an improved frequency of 
data from both satellites. The two observation instruments aboard 
Landsat 8 feature improvements over their earlier counterparts while 
collecting information that is compatible with 41 years of land 
images from previous Landsat satellites.

For more information about the Landsat mission, visit: 


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