Lockheed Martin team delivers proposal for Landsat Data Continuity Mission

Press Release From: Lockheed Martin Corporation
Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2001

A team headed by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Missiles & Space Operations, has delivered a proposal to formulate and implement the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). The LDCM will be a data specification-based procurement for seasonal, global, highly calibrated, multi-spectral imaging of the Earth's land surface. The data must provide continuity with the government's Landsat data archives beyond Landsat 7 and enable continuation of multi-decadal land use/land cover change measurements.

"The Lockheed Martin team is very pleased to bring extensive expertise in Earth remote sensing spacecraft, commercial imagery distribution and in-depth knowledge of Landsat science data to the service of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission," said Craig Newton, manager of commercial remote sensing advanced programs business development at Space Systems. "For nearly three decades, the collection of Landsat images has provided crucial data to those who observe and study the Earth, those who manage and utilize its natural resources, and those who monitor the changes brought on by natural processes and human activities. Working together with GSFC and the United States Geological Survey (USGS), we believe that we can formulate and implement a successful LDCM that will deliver the lowest cost, highest quality data to the Landsat community."

The LDCM will meet both NASA research needs and USGS operational requirements for a period of five years beginning with an initial operational capability in March 2006. The Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992 requires U.S. government Landsat program management to "assess options for a successor land remote sensing system to Landsat 7." The act further requires that the assessment of options consider the ability to "maintain data continuity with the Landsat system" and to "incorporate system enhancements ... which may potentially yield a system that is less expensive to build and operate, and more responsive to data users." The LDCM will be required to provide multispectral digital image data for global coverage of the Earth's landmass on a seasonal basis and in a manner that ensures continuity of the Landsat 7 mission.

Landsat images provide information applicable to the broad and diverse needs of business, science, education and government. The data from Landsat spacecraft constitutes the longest, relatively high spatial resolution, multispectral record of Earth's continental surfaces as seen from space. The record is unmatched in quality, detail, coverage and value. In 1975, NASA Administrator Dr. James Fletcher stated that if one space age development might save the world, it would be Landsat and its successor satellites. Since the first launch on July 23, 1972, Landsat satellites have continuously supplied land surface images of the globe.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems is joined in the LDCM effort by team members Space Imaging (SI) and the Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing (SBRS) laboratory. Space Systems brings to the table a long heritage of high-performance Earth remote sensing spacecraft that reaches from the Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS) launched in 1972 to Landsat 7, which was launched in 1999. Additionally, Lockheed Martin draws on the design, processes and personnel that constructed IKONOS, the most advanced commercial remote sensing satellite system in the world. Space Imaging, the owner and operator of IKONOS and supplier of a vast array of imaging products and solutions, brings its commercial expertise and the world's largest commercial imagery distribution network to LDCM. And SBRS, the heritage partner with Lockheed Martin on all Landsats to date, contributes its in-depth knowledge of the Landsat science data, calibration/validation and instrument design.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, headquartered in Denver, Colo., is one of the major operating units of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Space Systems designs, develops, tests, manufactures and operates a variety of advanced technology systems for military, civil and commercial customers. Chief products include a full-range of space launch systems, including heavy-lift capability, ground systems, remote sensing and communications satellites for commercial and government customers, advanced space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft, fleet ballistic missiles and missile defense systems.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a highly diversified global enterprise principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced-technology systems, products and services. The Corporation's core businesses span space and telecommunications, electronics, information and services, aeronautics, energy and systems integration. Lockheed Martin had 2000 sales surpassing $25 billion.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Low- and high-resolution JPEG image files of the proposed Lockheed Martin LDCM spacecraft are available at the following URL:

For more information about Lockheed Martin Space Systems, see our website at

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