CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The launch of NASA’s next Earth-observing Landsat satellite will be delayed seven days because of a lack of fluid nitrogen, the space office has announced.
The Landsat 9 satellite, a joint endeavor by NASA and the United States Geological Survey (USGS), was initially planned to take off from Space Launch Complex 3 at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Sept. 16. That takeoff has been pushed back to no sooner than Sept. 23.
The postponement is because of an overall deficiency of fluid oxygen, a critical part of rocket fuel, because of its job in clinical fluid oxygen in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Fluid oxygen is utilized as an oxidizer related to whatever fuel a rocket employments. Landsat 9 will be dispatched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, which utilizes RP-1 (rocket-grade lamp fuel), as charge.
“Current pandemic demands for medical liquid oxygen have impacted the delivery of the needed liquid nitrogen supply to Vandenberg by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and its supplier Airgas,” NASA said in a statement.
According to agency officials, NASA has its own provider of fluid oxygen that covers the missions dispatching from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (It additionally gives the fluid oxygen to United Launch Alliance missions also; SpaceX gives its own fluid oxygen.)
The office really has sufficient fluid oxygen supplies at this point that the deficiency won’t influence any dispatches that are right now on the current year’s show. That could change contingent upon the clinical local area’s necessities.
Dispatches from Vandenberg are an alternate story. The issue there, as seen with the Landsat delay, is a lack of fluid nitrogen.
That is on the grounds that the organization that conveys the stockpile of fluid nitrogen is helping with conveying fluid oxygen burdens to clinics, making an absence of conveyance drivers accessible to make the conveyances at Vandenberg.
“Airgas converts the liquid nitrogen to gaseous nitrogen needed for launch vehicle testing and countdown sequences. DLA and Airgas now have implemented efforts to increase the supply of liquid nitrogen to Vandenberg,” NASA said in a statement.
Landsat 9’s main goal
The $885 million Landsat 9 mission will be the 10th in the Landsat program as its name proposes, and will proceed with the program’s job of observing and overseeing land assets like harvests, water and backwoods.
Landsat satellites have been an important asset for researchers since the primary satellite dispatched in 1972.
“I like to think of Landsat as something like a Swiss army knife out of one basic set of observations or measurements, we feed a whole range of different science applications,” said Landsat 9 undertaking researcher Jeff Masek of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, in a prelaunch mission instructions Tuesday.
The Landsat 9 satellite will supplant the Landasat 7 satellite, which has been in circle since 1999, and will work pair with Landsat 8, which was dispatched in 2013. The Landsat 8/9 couple will picture the Earth like clockwork. They convey two distinct logical instruments that will investigate light reflected from the planet in various frequencies to identify even the most moment changes in the lakes, streams and timberland across the world.