Next Launch:


United States of America
United States of America
Date: Monday, September 27, 2021
Time: 6:12 PM UTC (UTC +0)

This goes

to space


Landsat 9 is a group effort between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) that will continue the Landsat program’s role of repeat global observations for keeping an eye on Earth’s natural resources.

Landsat instruments collect data by sweeping, or looking quickly, back and forth across the image swath like a whisk broom as it collects its imaging data.

The satellite will carry two instruments on board, the Opera­tional Land Imager 2 (OLI–2) and the Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 (TIRS–2).

The Operational Land Imager 2 will continue to populate an archive of Landsat Earth images that date back to 1972.

The Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 measures land surface temperature in two thermal bands with some new technology that includes quantum physics to detect heat. TIRS-2 provides an invaluable tool for managing water consumption around the Earth.

Landsat 9, OLI-2 and TIRS-2 will both have a five-year design life.

Photo: Landsat-9 in final preparation for launch Credit: Northrop Grumman

On this


Atlas V - 401

Atlas V - general

This is Atlas V, the workhorse of United Launch Alliance's fleet.

The rocket is a mix of Russian and American technology and uses the Russian RD-180 as the first stage engine.

It is one of the most versatile rockets in the world with 20 possible configurations -- though only half have flown.


Height: 58.3 m (191 ft) with payload fairing, 52.4 m (172 ft) with Starliner.

Diameter: 3.81 m (12.5 ft)

Mass: 590,000 kg (1,300,000 lb)

Stages: 2 (3 with Star 48 upper stage)

Developed in the mid- to late-1990s, it is the fifth and last major version of the Atlas rocket which began flying in 1957.

Lockheed Martin designed and built Atlas V as part of the U.S. government's 1994 plan to create an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program for national security missions.

The two companies with EELV rockets, Lockheed Martin with Atlas V and Boeing with Delta IV, merged in 2006 to form United Launch Alliance (ULA).

Pricing of the Atlas V has varied greatly over the years, with a basic Atlas V 401 (no boosters and a single-engine second stage) costing anywhere from the high-$90 million range to $163 million USD in the 2000s and early 2010s.

Sweeping price reductions have occurred once SpaceX began directly competing against ULA in the mid-2010s.

Atlas V's safety and success records are unparalleled, with a 100% mission success rating from a customer point of view.

Atlas V 401

This mission will use the Atlas V 401 variant - with a four-meter payload fairing (4), zero side-mounted solid rocket boosters (0), and a single-engine Centaur upper stage (1).

Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray and Sandra Joseph

From this


SLC-3E -- Vandenberg Space Force Base, California
September 27, 2021

Space Launch Complex 3 (SLC-3) is a launch site at Vandenberg Space Force Base that consisted of two separate launch pads until SLC-3W was demolished.

Launches from Vandenberg fly southward. This allows payloads to be placed in high-inclination orbits such as polar or Sun-synchronous, which allow full global coverage on a regular basis.

While it is possible to achieve these orbits from Florida launch centers, these orbits are difficult to reach where launches must bend around Florida, taking an inefficient route, to avoid major population centers like Miami.

SLC-3E was the launch site of the Mars lander InSight in May 2018 aboard a ULA Atlas V 401.

Image: SLC-3E Vandenberg Space Force Base Photo Credit: United Launch Alliance

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