Emcore Corporation of Albuequerque, New Mexico USA, announced that its
compound semiconductor-based BTJ triple-junction solar panels are powering the
Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) satellite. The LDCM satellite was
successfully launched on February 11, 2013 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in
California. Orbital Sciences Corporation designed, built and tested the LDCM
for NASA for the four decade running Landsat Earth observation program.
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, which is responsible for mission
operations, launch, and in-orbit checkout, oversaw development of the flight
systems including the LDCM spacecraft and the onboard instruments. The U.S.
Geological Survey (USGS) will operate the satellite and the Landsat ground
network, image-processing and archive facilities. The data collected benefits
many industries including agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning,
education, mapping, emergency response and disaster relief. It also contributes
to research on climate and increases our understanding of visible human effects
on land surfaces.
After the spacecraft completes in-orbit testing and is operated by the USGS,
it will be renamed Landsat 8, reflecting its place in a legacy of
highly-productive spacecraft. The satellite has two new spectral bands that
will allow it to detect clouds on coastal zones, and it will produce more than
twice as many images per day than the Landsat 7. LDCM measures about 20 feet
tall with a 9-foot diameter at its widest point. Four Emcore solar panels
extend 32 feet from the satellite when deployed. They deliver 3,750 watts of
power at End-Of-Life (EOL).