New satellite blasts into Earth orbit

NASA’s latest Earth-observing satellite rocketed into space Monday continuing a program which began more than 40 years ago.

An Atlas V rocket carrying the Landsat Data Continuity Mission spacecraft launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California. NASA officials called the launch picture perfect. The spacecraft is now on its own after a successful separation from the Centaur upper stage.

The Landsat craft is the eighth in a series of global observational spacecraft, a collaborative effort between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey.

According to NASA, it will play a critical role in monitoring, understanding and managing the resources, such as food and water, needed to sustain human life.

After three months of testing in orbit, the satellite will become known as Landsat 8, and all operational control of the spacecraft will transfer to the Geological Survey.

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