NASA Satellite Launch Spotted From Iceland Skip to content

NASA Satellite Launch Spotted From Iceland

Residents of Þorlákshöfn, South Iceland spotted a mysterious light in the sky around 10:00 PM last night, RÚV reports. The light was visible for around 5-7 minutes as it moved northward across the sky. Many who saw the object contacted the Icelandic Met Office to report their sighting and inquire as to its origin. The object was later identified as a NASA rocket, carrying the Landsat 9 satellite.

The Atlas V rocket carrying Landsat 9 was launched at 6:12 PM UTC, from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. It was spotted in South Iceland around four hours later, where it was visible for a few minutes before disappearing behind a cloud. The rocket was spotted from both Þorlákshöfn and the Westman Islands.

Landsat 9 will orbit Earth at an altitude of 705 kilometres [438 miles], where it will collect images of the Earth’s surface and changes to land usage along with its sister satellite Landsat 8. The satellites help researchers monitor phenomena including agricultural productivity, forest health, and glaciers.

“The Landsat mission is like no other,” stated Karen St. Germain, director of the Earth Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This data can help us understand, predict, and plan for the future in a changing climate.”

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