|Mission type||Satellite imagery|
|Operator||NASA / USGS|
|Mission duration||5 years (planned)|
|Manufacturer||Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems (Orbital ATK)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||September 2021|
|Rocket||Atlas V 401|
|Launch site||Vandenberg, SLC-3E|
|Contractor||United Launch Alliance|
|Reference system||Geocentric orbit|
|Operational Land Imager-2 (OLI-2)|
Thermal Infrared Sensor-2 (TIRS-2)
Landsat 9 is a planned Earth observation satellite, scheduled for launch in September 2021. NASA is in charge of building, launching, and testing the system, while the United States Geological Survey (USGS) will process, archive, and distribute its data. It will be the eighth satellite in the Landsat series, as Landsat 6 failed to reach orbit. In September 2020, United Launch Alliance is planning for a September 2021 launch on an Atlas V 401 launch vehicle, which will lift off from Space Launch Complex-3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The Critical Design Review (CDR) was completed by NASA in April 2018, and Orbital ATK was given the go-ahead to manufacture the satellite.
The design and construction of Landsat 9 were assigned by NASA, under a delivery order contract to Orbital ATK, in October 2016. The purchase cost of US$129.9 million is part of a five-year contract between the two entities. The budget that provides for initial work on Landsat 9 also calls for research into less expensive and smaller components for future Landsat hardware.
Landsat 9 will largely replicate the functions of its predecessor Landsat 8. The former will include near-identical copies of remote sensors: the Operational Land Imager (OLI) and the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) instruments – optical and thermal sensors respectively – that will be designated OLI-2 and TIRS-2; the latter will be upgraded to a risk class B implementation (high priority, high national significance, high complexity,) while no changes will be applied to OLI-2.
NASA selected Ball Aerospace & Technologies to provide the OLI-2 instrument through a sole source procurement. OLI-2 will collect data for nine spectral bands with a ground sample distance (GSD) of 30 m for all bands except the panchromatic band, which has a 15 m GSD.
NASA assigned the TIRS-2 instrument as a directed development to Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). Design changes to the TIRS-2 are intended to address the stray light and Scene Select Mechanism (SSM) encoder problems experienced with the TIRS on Landsat 8. Testing and assessment of the TIRS-2 demonstrate the stray light magnitude has been reduced to 1%.
Landsat 9 has a contracted launch date of no later than June 2021, though United Launch Alliance (ULA) could launch the spacecraft as soon as December 2020 if it was ready. The launch is currently scheduled for September 2021. This is 4–5 years after the end of Landsat 7's mission design lifetime and near the end of its maximum (fuel supply) lifetime. Funding decisions may change the launch date. The Launch Services Program (LSP) at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) will control the launch services, which is planned to be launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base. The launch of the Landsat 9 land imaging mission has been delayed until in September 2021 after the effects of the coronavirus pandemic slowed work on the spacecraft in Arizona, NASA officials said.