Pioneering Earth observation satellite retired by NASA

Pioneering Earth observation satellite retired by NASA

NASA has decommissioned a long-lived satellite launched in 2000 that demonstrated remote sensing and surveying instruments and techniques common in today’s orbiting Earth observatories.

The Earth Observing-1 spacecraft’s orbit has shifted away from its optimal perch, and the satellite does not carry enough propellant to correct its course, NASA said.

The satellite tested new Earth-imaging cameras after its launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base on a Delta 2 rocket in November 2000, then the mission became a pioneer in spacecraft autonomy, sometimes making its own decisions about when to take images.

Built by Swales Aerospace, now part of Orbital ATK, the EO-1 satellite outlived its one-year design lifetime and was still healthy when NASA decided to retire the craft. NASA managers acted on advice from an independent review panel tasked to prioritize the agency’s spending on operating Earth science missions.

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