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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

AMAZING Footage of a Satellite Deployment in Space

By Phil Plait

On Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, NASA launched the Landsat Data Continuity Mission into orbit. After testing and checkout it will be renamed Landsat 8, handed off to the United States Geological Survey, and will continue the venerable mission to observe our green planet. Its task is to âextend more than 40 years of global land observations critical to energy and water management, forest monitoring, human and environmental health, urban planning, disaster recovery and agriculture.â

I expect great things from this missionâ¦but for now, you simply must watch this amazing footage, taken from a camera inside the booster rocket, showing the satellite itself decoupling from the booster and moving away into space. Thatâs the crescent Earth in the background, and, well, just watch for yourself. Trust me: wait for it.

Wow, that was so cool! And right out of Star Trekâin fact, the end of âStar Trek VI: The Undiscovered Countryâ really does end that way. Except this mission isnât riding off into the sunset; in that Landsat footage itâs literally moving into the sunrise. An apt metaphor for the start of such an important mission. Congratulations to everyone involved on a successful launch and deployment.

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