090321 Landsat 9

Landsat 9 is expected to launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base on Sept. 23.

The NASA and USGS Landsat 9 satellite is now scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base on Sept. 23, a week later than initially planned due to transportation issues involving liquid nitrogen needed to support launch site activities, officials announced last week. 

The upcoming launch coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Landsat mission, which is credited with providing the longest continuous record of Earth’s land surface from space, used by countries around the world to gain a deeper understanding of environmental change, respond to natural disasters and even forecast future crop production, according to reports.

The public can gain access to expansive views during the launch from a number of Lompoc locations and surrounding areas, as outlined by local nonprofit Explore Lompoc:

  • Lompoc Airport: Official NASA/USGS viewing site; connect with NASA and United States Geological Survey representatives, participate with interactive exhibits, displays and games. 
  • Surf Beach: If skies are clear and the beach isn’t closed due to security issues, Surf Beach can be another great place to view the launch.
  • West Ocean Avenue: Minutes from downtown Lompoc, West Ocean Avenue provides a good viewing location, depending on weather.
  • Top of Harris Grade Road: This is the farthest location from the launchpads but is a good elevation and distance if the fog rolls in.
  • Hawk’s Nest: The Hawk’s nest viewing area (found on maps as Camellia Lane or Azalea Lane) is another high-elevation viewing site if weather conditions are unfavorable.

Ahead of the scheduled launch, NASA, USGS and Explore Lompoc are co-hosting Launch Week, a set of community events geared toward educating the public:

  1. GeoTour community event and Landsat Week Proclamation, at the DeWees Center: 8 to 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 19.
  2. Earth as Art Exhibit, at the Lompoc Library Gallery: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Sept. 20 to 23.
  3. Landsat Collage Workshop, at the Lompoc Library: 3 to 4 p.m., Monday, Sept. 20.
  4. Family Fun Night, at the Aquatic Center: 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21.
  5. Landsat Wall Mural Ribbon Cutting, at Ocean & I Street: 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21.
  6. LOL — "Landsat for Climate Action," at Montemar Wines: 5 to 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 22.
  7. Landsat and Wine Science Talk, at Montemar Wines: 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22.
  8. L9 launch activities, at the Lompoc Airport: 9 a.m. to noon, Thursday, Sept. 23.
  9. Ladies of Landsat — Power of the Pixel, from 1972 to 2021, at Montemar Wines: 2 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23.
  10. Landsat Trivia Night, at Hangar 7: 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23 (doors open at 5 p.m. for dinner)

For more details about the launch and scheduled activities, go to explorelompoc.com/landsat.

Lisa André covers lifestyles and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record. 

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