TIRS will collect data on heat emitted from Earth's surface in two thermal bands, as compared with a single thermal band on previous Landsat satellites. These thermal band observations are becoming increasingly vital to monitoring water consumption, especially in the arid western United States.
On Monday afternoon, Bolden will tour Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex-4, which is home to a new Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) launch pad. The pad is nearing completion to support SpaceX launches beginning in 2013. NASA's first use will be in 2015 with the launch of the Jason-3 mission, which will precisely measure sea surface height on Earth to monitor ocean circulation and sea level. SpaceX is the newest American company to demonstrate the capability to launch science missions for NASA and other government agencies. Jason-3 will be developed and operated as part of an international effort led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Bolden also will see the Orbital Sciences Pegasus rocket, being readied at Vandenberg, for the launch this April of NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) heliophysics mission.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. built the OLI instrument in Boulder, Colo. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center built the TIRS instrument. Orbital Sciences Corporation built, integrated, and tested the spacecraft in Gilbert, Ariz. USGS provided the LDCM ground system. The launch was managed by NASA's Launch Services Program based at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. United Launch Alliance provided the Atlas V launch vehicle.
For more information about LDCM, visit:http://www.nasa.gov/landsat and http://landsat.usgs.gov SOURCE NASA