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New NRC report calls for sustained Landsat program

09 August 2013

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Senate appropriators already skeptical of NASA's plan to explore hosted payload and international partnership concepts as an alternative to building another dedicated Landsat spacecraft were handed fresh ammunition with the 8 Aug release of a National Research Council (NRC) report calling for a "systematic and deliberate program" to prevent a disruption in Landsat's 40-year record of moderate-resolution land imagery.

Despite a 1992 law mandating the continuous collection of Landsat-type imagery, "the procurement of the series of Landsat satellites has been ad hoc and has had a chaotic history, characterised by frequent shifting of responsibilities among government agencies and the private sector," the report says.

Landsat-8, a $1 billion spacecraft launched in February with a five-year design life but enough fuel to last 10, was finally put under contract in 2007 after NASA spent several years pursuing commercial and interagency partnerships for a successor to the Landsat-7 spacecraft that launched in 1999 but developed a serious instrument glitch a short time later.

Source: SpaceNews

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