History Of Satellites: NASA’s ‘Landsat’ Program – “Getting Off The Ground”

Every legacy has a compelling origin. The soon-to-be-launched Landsat 9 is the intellectual and technical product of eight generations of Landsat missions, spanning nearly 50 years.

Episode One answers the question “why?” Why did the specific years between 1962 and 1972 call for a such a mission? Why did leadership across agencies commit to its fruition? Why was the knowledge it could reveal important to the advancing study of earth science?

In this episode, we’re introduced to William Pecora and Stewart Udall, two men who propelled the project into reality, as well as Virginia Norwood who breathed life into new technology. Like any worthwhile endeavor, Landsat encountered its fair share of resistance. Episode one explores how those challenges were overcome with the launch of Landsat 1, signifying a bold step into a new paradigm.

Additional footage courtesy of Gordon Wilkinson/Texas Archive of the Moving Image and the US Geological Survey. The Landsat Program is a series of Earth-observing satellite missions jointly managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Landsat satellites have been consistently gathering data about our planet since 1972. They continue to improve and expand this unparalleled record of Earth’s changing landscapes for the benefit of all.

Music: “The Missing Star,” “Brazenly Bashful,” “Light Tense Weight,” “It’s Decision Time,” “Patisserie Pressure,” from Universal Production Music Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Matthew R. Radcliff (USRA): Lead Producer Ryan Fitzgibbons (USRA): Lead Producer Kate Ramsayer (USRA): Lead Producer LK Ward (USRA): Lead Writer Ryan Fitzgibbons (USRA): Lead Editor Jeffrey Masek (NASA/GSFC): Lead Scientist Marc Evan Jackson: Narrator Terry Arvidson (Lockheed Martin): Interviewee Aaron E. Lepsch (ADNET): Technical Support

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