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NASA Space Science

Landsat 8 Satellite Successfully Launches Into Orbit 28

New adosch writes "The Landsat Data Continuity Mission is now in orbit, after launching Monday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Calif. After about three months of testing, the U.S. Geological Survey will take control and the mission, renamed Landsat 8, will extend more than 40 years of global land observations critical to energy and water management, forest monitoring, human and environmental health, urban planning, disaster recovery, and agriculture." We still need more new observation satellites to avoid losing Earth observing capabilities as the work horses of the NASA/USGS fleet die of old age.
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Landsat 8 Satellite Successfully Launches Into Orbit

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  • by decsnake ( 6658 ) on Monday February 11, 2013 @11:47PM (#42868193) Homepage

    Low orbit satellites like this one are deorbited. Either they have to be designed for a controlled reentry into the ocean or be demisable, that is to completely disintegrate on reentry. Designing for dismisability is tough. You have to limit the size of all hard parts, and the harder they are the smaller the maximum size is. Off the top of my head, a titanium part can't be be bigger tham 2cm square, but aluminum can be 10cm square. Composites can be larger still.

  • by decsnake ( 6658 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @12:04AM (#42868281) Homepage

    Its a requirements thing. If the requirement is for 5 years of service then all the parts are life tested for the equivalent of 5 years. If the requirement was for 10 years of service the parts testing would cost a lot more. Because most of the subsystems are redundant even if some subsystems fail at 5 years the mission can continue longer. Generally, spacecraft last a lot longer than the design life anyway. Landsat 5 has been in use almost 29 years. ATS-3 was in use for 34 years. TDRS-1 was in use for 26 years. Nimbus-7 was another one that was in use for way longer than anyone ever imagined.

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