On February 11, 2013 NASA will launch its Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California. The Western States Water Council’s efforts over nearly a decade helped to ensure federal funding for a thermal infrared sensor/TIRS imager to be included in the LDCM. The Landsat earth observation series of satellite has been orbiting the Earth since the 1970s and has included a TIRS instrument since 1982. The Council has worked hard to achieve bipartisan support in Congress for ensuring the TIRS funding after NASA had cut it from its budget early on.
Western states are using TIRS data to measure and monitor the energy balance flux observed through evapotranspiration from vegetation and can accurately calculate consumptive water use from irrigated farm fields from space! This ability, and the archiving of data since 1982, also help the states administer water rights and can be used to facilitate water markets and transfers between uses. Idaho’s development and use of related tools was recognized with an Innovations in Government Award from Harvard University.
NASA TV will be broadcasting the launch live! Here is the schedule and hopefully you can watch it or stream it online:
February 11, 2013
6:00 AM PST – Live feed of LDCM on Vandenberg Air Force Base Launch Pad
6:30 to 9:30 AM PST – Live feed of launch prep at Vandenberg Air Force Base Launch Pad
10:00 AM PST – LDCM Launch (estimated time)
Our executive director, Tony Willardson, will be attending the launch!