Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Landsat 8 Satellite Successfully Launches Into Orbit

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the looking-inward dept.

NASA 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.

cancel ×

28 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

5 years of service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867127)

tell me I read wrong elsewhere, but why is it only designed for 5 years of service and 10 years of life?

Re:5 years of service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867149)

Because NASA doesn't invest in life extension technology.

Re:5 years of service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867177)

kind of like the Lysine contingency... or Blade Runner... it's just in case.

Re:5 years of service (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867451)

If i knew where you read I it I could judge if you read it wrong but I digress. We live in a consumer economy. That is also a consumer culture. Ever wonder how you make money by consuming things? It's easy. You just bring money into existence via loans or credit to buy things of value. You see money is just a representation of value. Therefore when you build a house worth $200,000 the bank can give you a line of credit to pay for the house. That line of credit is written into existence.

Ever wonder how a country like the U.S. can be 60 Trillion dollars [usdebtclock.org] in debt (public and private)? What's China own? 1 Trillion of that debt? A good chunk of that total debt is in mortgages and credit. Where did all that money come from? It was just created in the forms of loans. And why not? Money represents value. So if a house is built that much value has been created. The loan principal is essentially paid back by other loans, its just a bunch of numbers and promises between banks.

It's as if I loaned you $500 by writing myself at -$500 rather than actually having the money. Then when you pay it back I'm back to zero. If I charge interest that's awesome for me. We can't make anything last long because we need to keep replacing it so we can keep making money. Inflation is somewhat depressed because even though you are flooding the market with money you are also creating more things to buy with that money. It's an ingenious system except for one minor flaw. Where do you get the interest from?

Oh, there's another flaw is that the system wants to keep expanding whereas resources and manpower have real-world limits on rates of growth. I'll be generous and assume no limit on growth as new technology and new resources (like asteroids) can come into play. But the rate at which we grow only goes so fast unlike our ability to write money/debt into existence. The total derivatives market is close to 1 quadrillion dollars. Yeah, that's 1000 trillion. There's not even that much stuff in existence so what value is that money really representing?

Re:5 years of service (4, Informative)

decsnake (6658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868281)

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.

Re:5 years of service (1)

craigminah (1885846) | about a year and a half ago | (#42877103)

That's most like due to the path that leads directly to the power core. Statistics prove something will fly into this pathway and hit the unprotected power core causing a massive and unstoppable explosion, ending the satellite's lifespan. You think they'd learn but the Empire's engineering budget has been slashed significantly since the sequestration Darth levied on the council.

'workhorses' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867255)

Does this mean there are other sats that do light duty work on the project? How much do they contribute? What is the distinction that decides which are the 'workhorse' sats?

Re:'workhorses' (2)

Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867375)

Certain instruments degrade and thus can't perform the full duties required by a project any longer

Planning for death... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867263)

Do these satellites have the ability to deorbit? Or when they die do they become more permanent space junk?

Re:Planning for death... (4, Informative)

decsnake (6658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868193)

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.

Big Brother. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867283)

The price of tinfoil hats just doubled.

The USGS satellites are very important. (5, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867291)

These satellites are used for water management, agriculture and many other things that are vital infrastructure. As an example, my state uses LandSAT data to estimate water use by using the thermal maps LandSAT produces and from this can make fairly accurate predictions of actual water use and resulting draw down of critical reservoirs.

It's also a huge issue as right now there is going to be a gap of about 2 years when one of the sats dies and before it's replacement gets up and it's going to get worse as more of the aging sats die. This is one of those aspects of government spending that is critical in many ways and will be severely damaged by government spending cuts. The amount of money these programs occupy is miniscule compared against their benefit.

Re:The USGS satellites are very important. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867751)

While a gap in coverage is a problem, having the replacement in orbit before failure is (arguably) more important for calibration. Without sets of images of the same things at the same times from both satellites, it's impossible to know the exact differences between the older and newer data. For example, the shades of color indicating plant health.

Sure, you have a good idea as to what those differences might be from the designs, but the only real test is to put the satellite into orbit.

Re:The USGS satellites are very important. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867759)

Yes but the same satellites can be used by scientists to study climate change. Therefore the best thing for the government to do, in the interest of protecting powerful energy lobbies, is to ensure that non-defense satellites are not replaced as they age. And scientific research doesn’t deserve funding because so many scientists are godless communists.

Re:The USGS satellites are very important. (0)

davester666 (731373) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868295)

We're having problems with the programming.

After we send them up, they keep reporting that the average surface temperature of the Earth is slowly going up.

and the other planets too (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868677)

and the other planets are reading warmer too. I wonder if that 0.001 degree temperature difference is attracting asteroids from millions of miles away.

Re:The USGS satellites are very important. (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868543)

my state uses LandSAT data to estimate water use .. and from this can make fairly accurate predictions of actual water use and resulting draw down of critical reservoirs.

This sounds really important.

This is one of those aspects of government spending that is critical in many ways and will be severely damaged by government spending cuts. The amount of money these programs occupy is miniscule compared against their benefit.

Let's say, hypothetically that nobody shows up for Treasury auctions anymore except for The Fed and that the USD crashes, leaving USG with no real means of payment and therefore Federal satellite dollars dry up. But the former USGS engineers form a company and with SpaceX put up the next satellite.

Would your State subscribe to their data service?

ERTS-1 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867325)

Playing with tapes from EROS on the Cray/CDC machines at U of Mn in the early 70s. Great fun.

Raytheon again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867791)

After the questionable publicity [slashdot.org] we received in this morning's story about the RIOT program, I would like to point out that we are also responsible for producing the world's best focal planes [raytheon.com] , some of which have gone into these Landsat birds, including this one.

weather.com would launch a 20yr sat for 1/10th the (0)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868275)

Billions of dollars and they last five years. Something tells me that if Washington got out of the satellite business entirely, weather.com and partners would launch a sat with a 20 year service life that cost less than $100 million.

Then, the Google Earth crew would look at the Google Fiber team and say "if they can offer 700 mbps for $70, what can we do with satellites?" Maybe they'd launch a rocket carrying 50 mini-sats that together provided ten times better coverage than the 1960s style Landsats that the government is still launching.

Sometimes government research into new technology is good. For only a few billion dollars, DARPA created what would later become the internet. Speeds up to 300 bps in the government version. Then companies took it to 700000000 bps, after building the web atop the old gopher-carrying net.

Satellites aren't a top secret research project anymore. That's no reason for all the waste and inefficiency of government these days. The news channels and other users will buy satellite feeds from someone - if the need is there, that's a market, and a market will always attract suppliers.

Re:weather.com would launch a 20yr sat for 1/10th (1)

Omestes (471991) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868747)

Then companies took it to 700000000 bps, after building the web atop the old gopher-carrying net.

Using lines laid with public dollars, and protected with limited monopolies. Also, often building off research done at public universities, with government grant money.

Re:weather.com would launch a 20yr sat for 1/10th (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868883)

Yes, if we just get all that useless government out of the way of the benevolent corporations we could all be living the life of the Jetsons in no time. Back to the glorious economy of the Victorian era! By all the gods, what kind of frelling hellhole of a world do you want to live in?

Re:weather.com would launch a 20yr sat for 1/10th (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#42869023)

The web was not invented by private corporations. Without the special right of way grants, the corporate world wouldn't have been able to do anything with the internet. Without the DARPA work, the internet would closer resemble Tymenet and Compu$erve and yes, you would likely have to pay for it by the minute. There would likely be 3 competing services, all incompatible and with no hope of interconnection. Each would reserve the right to remove any content they didn't like from their servers. YOU wouldn't have a server but they might let you rent space on theirs if you had big bux.

You might ask how I know that. I know because that's exactly what they developed before the internet came along and ate their lunch. They tried to keep their expensive walled gardens going as long as they could, eventually even grudgingly offering internet connectivity in a last ditch effort to keep people from leaving in droves, but they just didn't have a clue how to add enough value to be worth paying a premium over regular dial-up providers.

The market was clearly there, it took off like wild fire. But nobody was going to take the first step until DARPA and later, public universities stepped in. Untill the FCC spoke up, AT&T wasn't even going to allow the use of a modem on a phone line.

If weather.com and co can do so much better for so much less, why haven't they? It's not like there isn't demand for additional satellite data.

I believe in competition and a well regulated market, but sometimes the market really isn't the answer. It either needs to be kicked off by fiat or, in some cases, simply won't happen. Often it needs a viable public option to keep it honest.

So Compuserve invented it, arpa dialed up (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year and a half ago | (#42870669)

So what you're pointing out is that Compuserve et al provided email, live chat, et. years before darpa had the brilliant idea that one military base could dial another with a modem. Further, you say, Compuserve was competing with Tymenet, Prodigy, etc. to see who could provide the best services at the best price. Becuase most internet technology was all invented by private companies, the government should run more things. Did I get that right?

Hmm, you did mention walled gardens, a phrase normally applied to Apple. I suppose Compuserve vs. Prodigy vs. AOL vs. Delphi vs. Bix WAS a little bit like Apple vs. Android, except that there were a lot more than two players. I guess you're cheering government intervention versus competition, so you'd prefer that instead of Apple and Android competing, the government should just mandate that we all use WIndows?

Re:So Compuserve invented it, arpa dialed up (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#42872503)

to see who could provide the best services at the best price.

No, that's not what he said at all, and that's not what was happening at all. Those of us who were old enough to actually be there remember how the big companies were carving out exclusive territories with the gleeful cooperation of the Baby Bells. In northern Michigan my one choice was AOL unless I was willing to pay per-minute long distance charges ($0.24/minute IIRC) in addition to the per-minute online charges ($0.05/minute). Even after Eh?OhHell bought CompuServe you still could not access CompuServe data from the AOL network for over a year. Forget sending an email to your cousin on Prodigy or your customer who used Delphi.

years before darpa had the brilliant idea that one military base could dial another

Wow. You really have no idea what went on, do you? I love this next line.

most internet technology was all invented by private companies

Most internet technology was invented at universities and government labs by people who relied on tax dollars for at least part if not all of their paychecks. That includes the very idea of an Inter-Net, a network of interconnected networks able to communicate using a common protocol, which today we call TCP/IP.

It's one thing to be ignorant, ignorance can be cured by knowledge and learning. It's quite another thing to be proud of being ignorant and flaunting it like a banner. Maybe you should go back to your Any Rand novels, serious discussion forums don't seem to be your forte.

Re:So Compuserve invented it, arpa dialed up (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#42874171)

Actually, no. Compu$serve et. al. had long stagnated. They were quite expensive. Email started on the ARPANET which predated compuserve. They were indeed competing, but competition failed to create anything like the value and utility that DARPA created by fiat. They were far from first, they were just made available to the general public sooner while ARPANAT was confined to government and universities. Once Internet connectivity was opened to all, it was game over for the expensive slow, tightly metered, and limited commercial offerings. They simply had nothing to offer that the internet didn't offer at a lower price. Put in economic terms, they were too inefficient and stagnant to compete against the Internet and they had no idea how to change.

You should note that all of those services were dial-up.

BTW, the reason people who were actually there at the time call it Compu$erve is because it cost $5/hour off peak and $22.50/hour during business hours. All over a blazing fast 300 baud modem.

It is clear to me that this was all well before your time since you are not aware that the term 'walled garden' was applied to AOL and the other 'information services' long before it was applied to Apple. The term has always connoted derision.

I don't know where you got the idea I am cheering for any government mandate. The Internet was not a mandate, it was offered as is, use it or don't. It crushed the others because of it's obvious superiority. The world moved to the internet one freely made personal decision at a time.

Re:weather.com would launch a 20yr sat for 1/10th (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42887803)

As an aerospace engineer who worked on this program for two years, this post made me audibly laugh out loud. Good thing no one takes you serious.

Um, "workhorse" is one word. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868935)

But having said that:

For 2013, Russia has pledged to spend more than 7 times NASA's budget on space.

What is our government doing?
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>