Plans are under way for Landsat 9, continuing the legacy of the U.S. satellite imagery resource. In addition, there are dollars in the President Obama’s budget to expand Landsat data’s usability and accessibility.
NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey are working on the Landsat 9 satellite, which is scheduled to launch in 2023. The continuity program also includes a smaller satellite to track infrared light in the bands Landsat monitors for vegetation patterns to maintain that data set.
In addition, the proposed budget calls for an increase of $24.3 million for the ground system portion of the Sustained Land Imaging Program. The increase includes a $4 million increase for Landsat science products for climate and resource assessment.
With this latest latest commitment, the program will achieve a 50-year record of global land cover data.
“The longer the satellites view the Earth, the more phenomena you can observe and understand,” said Jeffrey Masek, Landsat 9 project scientist at NASA Goddard. “"We have recognized for the first time that we’re not just going to do one more, then stop, but that Landsat is actually a long-term monitoring activity, like the weather satellites, that should go on in perpetuity."