NASA’s Landsat 9 ready for launch aboard Atlas V from Vandenberg

United Launch Alliance is set to launch NASA’s most powerful Earth-imaging satellite, Landsat 9, on an Atlas V rocket. Liftoff is currently scheduled for 11:12 AM PDT (18:12 UTC) on Monday, September 27, from Space Launch Complex-3 East (SLC-3E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Atlas V will place the satellite into a near-polar, sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 705 km and a 98.2-degree inclination. Sun-synchronous orbits are often used by Earth-imaging satellites to ensure that the spacecraft will always be at the same position relative to the sun when visiting the same location on Earth. This allows scientists to accurately compare two images at different times and track changes over time. Atlas V is ULA’s workhorse rocket, with a total of 87 launches. The variant in use for this mission, the Atlas V 401, has been launched 38 times. Using a three-digit configuration number, the first digit denotes the diameter of the payload fairing, the second indicates the number of solid rocket motors (SRMs), and the third represents the number of RL-10 engines on the Centaur upper stage. For this mission, Atlas will use the longest-available 4.2-meter fairing known as the Extra Extended Payload Fairing (XEPF), no…

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NASA’s Landsat 9 ready for launch aboard Atlas V from Vandenberg

Updated: September 27, 2021 — 10:26 am