March 22, 2016 – Vanguard Space Technologies, Inc. today announced that it has been selected by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. to produce mission-critical structures for the Operational Land Imager-2 (OLI-2) instrument for the Landsat 9 project.
The scientific objective of the Landsat Program is to provide the baseline data required to map global land cover, land use and change on an annual basis over multi-decadal periods of time. Landsat 9 builds on the great performance of Landsat 8 and extends the 40+ year Landsat data archive.
NASA awarded a contract to Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Boulder, Colorado on January 4, 2016 to build the Operational Land Imager-2 instrument for the Landsat 9 project.
The OLI is a reflective, multi-channel, earth-imaging instrument that provides highly calibrated imagery to detect and quantify the effects of natural and human-induced activities on the Earth’s surface. Vanguard will be responsible for the Baseplate Structural Assembly and Mounting Struts for the OLI-2 Instrument.
The Baseplate Structural Assembly and Mounting Struts consist of lightweight, composite construction and will include multiple attach points and metallic fittings to mount the precision telescope and electronic components to the spacecraft. Vanguard will use advanced composite materials, manufacturing and assembly techniques to meet very exacting geometric tolerances required over the broad operational temperature range of the spacecraft.
“We are very proud to have been selected by Ball Aerospace to be a part of this important Landsat mission and to add to our business base with this important customer,” said Frank Belknap, CEO of Vanguard. “We have a long heritage of producing extremely tight tolerance, high-precision, lightweight structures for telescope and satellite structural products. We will utilize this experience to meet all structural and geometric tolerance requirements to ensure a fully compliant, dimensional stable structure is delivered to Ball Aerospace meeting all OLI-2 mission requirements.”
Ball Aerospace previously designed and built the OLI aboard Landsat 8 – an instrument that significantly advanced Landsat sensor technology. Ball’s innovative design improved the signal to noise ratio and provided better characterization of land cover, revealing much more data to Landsat users than had been revealed before.
NASA and the U.S. Department of the Interior honored Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in November 2014 for its contribution of the OLI to Landsat 8 and OLI’s ability to help scientists, land use managers, fire fighters, and other beneficiaries to better understand the Earth’s features. Ball Aerospace was awarded the esteemed William T. Pecora Award. The Pecora Awards honor outstanding contributions in the field of remote sensing and its application to understanding Earth.
The Landsat 9 mission is a partnership between NASA and the USGS. NASA will build, launch, perform the initial check-out and commissioning of the satellite; USGS will operate Landsat 9 and process, archive, and freely distribute the mission’s data. Landsat 9 is expected to launch in 2023.