ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Feb. 19, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- EMCORE Corporation (Nasdaq:EMKR), a leading provider of compound semiconductor-based components and subsystems for the fiber optic and solar power markets, announced today that EMCORE solar panels are powering the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) satellite that was successfully launched on February 11, 2013 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. LDCM was designed, built and tested by Orbital Sciences Corporation for NASA to support the Landsat Earth observation program that began over four decades ago. The LDCM satellite continues a 40-year legacy of seven previous satellites that have collected vital data and images of the Earth's surface and environment. NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) share responsibility for the LDCM program. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center oversaw development of the flight systems including the LDCM spacecraft and the onboard instruments, and is responsible for mission operations, launch, and in-orbit checkout. The USGS will operate the satellite and the Landsat ground network, image-processing and archive facilities. The data collected constitutes the longest ongoing record of the Earth's surface as seen from space and benefits many industries including agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education, mapping, emergency response and disaster relief. The knowledge gained contributes to research on climate, carbon cycle, water cycle, ecosystems, biogeochemistry and changes to Earth's surface, as well as our understanding of visible human effects on land surfaces. LDCM joins Landsat 7, which is currently in orbit. Once the spacecraft completes in-orbit testing and is operated by the USGS, it will be renamed Landsat 8, reflecting its place in a distinguished legacy of highly-productive spacecraft. The satellite has two new spectral bands that will allow it to detect clouds on coastal zones. In addition, it will produce more than twice as many images per day than the Landsat 7. LDCM is approximately 20 feet tall with a 9-foot diameter at its widest point. The solar array has four EMCORE solar panels that will extend 32 feet from the satellite when deployed and feature high-efficiency BTJ triple-junction solar cells delivering 3,750 watts of power at End-Of-Life (EOL).