Countdown Begins On Launch Of Latest Earth Satellite

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (February 11, 2013)--A rocket carrying an Earth observation satellite was scheduled to lift off Monday from the California coast on a mission to keep a continuous eye on the planet's resources.

The countdown for the Atlas V launch began Monday morning from the Vandenberg Air Force Base along California's central coast.

The Landsat satellite is the eighth of its kind to be launched since 1972 to track glaciers, forest fires, crop production and coastlines.

Unlike its predecessors, the latest carries more powerful sensors and can return more images.

For the past four decades, the polar-orbiting Landsat satellites have documented changes to Earth's surface including the effects of deforestation and urban sprawl.

NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey manage the $855 million mission.


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