Secretary Haaland Attends Historic Launch of Landsat 9 Satellite

Joint satellite mission by USGS and NASA will inform scientific decision-making regarding climate change, wildfire management, and water usage

Last edited 09/27/2021

Date: Monday, September 27, 2021


WASHINGTON — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland today attended the historic launch of the Landsat 9 satellite, which will provide major improvements to our Earth observation capabilities and help bolster our use of scientific data in key decision-making. Secretary Haaland was joined by Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo and leaders from ⁠⁠the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

NASA was the lead operational partner at today’s launch at Vandenberg Space Force Base. After a three-month period of systems checks, NASA will transfer mission responsibility of Landsat 9 to USGS.

“Today’s successful launch is a major milestone in the nearly 50-year joint partnership between USGS and NASA who, for decades, have partnered to collect valuable scientific information and use that data to shape policy with the utmost scientific integrity,” said Secretary Haaland. “As the impacts of the climate crisis intensify in the United States and across the globe, Landsat 9 will provide data and imagery to help make science-based decisions on key issues including water use, wildfire impacts, coral reef degradation, glacier and ice-shelf retreat, and tropical deforestation.”

The Earth-observing satellite was developed by USGS and NASA and will collect essential data on Earth’s geologic formations, natural habitats, farmlands, cities, lakes, glaciers, coastlines and other surface features. The groundbreaking technology of this newest satellite will provide imagery at landscape-scale resolution that can be used to support the Department’s efforts to improve environmental sustainability, climate change resiliency, and economic growth – all while expanding an unparalleled record of Earth's changing landscapes. 

“Since it’s first launch in 1972, the Landsat program has provided the world with data on our home planet. Landsat 9 will support the continued science and understanding of environmental and climate changes that are occurring—not only on the public lands managed by the Department of the Interior—but throughout the United States and across the world,” said Assistant Secretary Trujillo.

Landsat 9 replaces the 22-year-old Landsat 7 satellite. In tandem with the currently operational Landsat 8 mission, Landsat 9 will provide major improvements to our Earth observation capabilities and will ensure the continuation of the 50-year Landsat data record of Earth observations.

Learn more about some of the stunning images the Landsat program has provided.


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