Photos: Landsat 9 encapsulated inside Atlas payload shroud


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The Landsat 9 satellite is set for launch Sept. 27 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. These photos show the encapsulation of the environmental monitoring spacecraft inside the payload fairing of its Atlas 5 launcher.

Ground crews enclosed the 5,981-pound (2,713-kilogram) spacecraft within the nose cone of the Atlas 5 rocket Aug. 16 inside the  Integrated Processing Facility at Vandenberg.

Landsat 9 was built by Northrop Grumman and is the next in a line of land imaging satellites developed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. The Landsat satellites track agricultural activity, forestry, water resources, urban growth, and other changes on Earth’s land surfaces.

The new Landsat satellite is scheduled for liftoff on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket at 11:11 a.m. PDT (2:11 p.m. EDT; 1811 GMT) on Monday, Sept. 27.

Landsat 9 will launch on the basic version of ULA’s Atlas 5 rocket without any solid rocket boosters. The spacecraft is nestled inside the longest version of the Atlas 5’s four-meter diameter (13.1-foot) payload fairing.

After encapsulation, the spacecraft was moved to the Atlas 5 launch pad at Space Launch Complex 3-East, where a crane raised the Landsat 9 satellite and its payload fairing on top of the rocket Sept. 15.

Read our mission preview story for more details.

Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin
Credit: USSF 30th Space Wing/Chris Okula
Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin
Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin
Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin
Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin
Credit: USSF 30th Space Wing/Chris Okula
Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin
Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.


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