Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. has completed the pre-ship review of its “Operational Land Imager” (OLI) that is to fly aboard the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Landsat Data Continuity Mission.
The imaging instrument is being prepared for shipment to Orbital Sciences Corp in Gilbert, Ariz., where satellite integration will occur prior to the next scheduled Landsat launch in December 2012, Ball Aerospace says.
The Landsat program is a series of Earth-observing satellite missions jointly managed by the NASA and the USGS. For nearly 40 years, Landsat satellites have collected images of Earth, creating an historical archive unmatched in quality, detail, coverage and length. The data collected has been vital to agricultural, water management, disaster response, scientific and national security uses, according to program managers.
The "OLI provides the key sensor technology to allow continuation of Landsat Earth observations into a fourth decade," said David Taylor, Ball Aerospace’s president and CEO. “This continuation is essential to maintain seamless acquisition of moderate resolution imagery of the Earth from space that is not captured by other private or public sources.”
Scientific, commercial and governmental users rely on Landsat for moderate-resolution, 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 use change, Ball Aerospace says.
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The unit is scheduled for launch in February 2012.