The Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Operational Land Imager (OLI) successfully launched today aboard the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 10:02 a.m. PST, on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
The 2013 mission is the eighth in the Landsat program, providing the longest-running Earth-observing satellite data available with 40 years of observations. Managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the first Landsat Earth-observing satellite lifted off on July 23, 1972, to provide a continuous picture of Earth from 400 miles above the ground.
The OLI instrument built by Ball will image the globe every 16 days to provide coverage each season of the year. Ball Aerospace has also provided the cryocooler for a second instrument aboard the satellite, the Thermal Infrared Sensor, built by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
"By providing consistent and timely observations of Earth, NASA and the USGS maintain a critical history of our planet," said David L. Taylor , Ball Aerospace president & CEO. "Ball's sensor aboard the eighth Landsat mission will provide the key technology to continue those observations into a fifth decade."
OLI represents a significant advancement in Landsat sensor technology by employing a more reliable design to improve performance. OLI's 14-module detector array enables it to scan with an advanced pushbroom technique, rather than the previous sweeping method. The OLI instrument provides 15-meter (49ft) panchromatic and 30-meter (98 ft) multi-spectral spatial resolutions along a 185km (115 mi) wide swath allowing for the 16-day imaging operation. Radiometric performance from OLI and the TIRS instrument will be substantially better than any previous Landsat sensor flown.
A multitude of scientific, commercial and governmental users rely on Landsat for multispectral Earth observation data. OLI will capture images of nine spectral bands in the visible, near infrared and shortwave infrared, helping scientists understand the impact of land changes in our global landscape.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions for national agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA and other U.S. government and commercial entities. The company develops and manufactures spacecraft, advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation systems and RF solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific applications.