The Complete Guide to Viewing the Landsat 9 Launch
Alert: Due to unforeseen circumstances, NASA has postponed the launch of Landsat 9 to September 27, 2021. All Landsat week events have been moved accordingly, please see your favorite events for updates!
If catching a rocket launch IRL is your thing, grab a front-row seat to one of the most important NASA launches of 2021 right here in Lompoc. The Landsat 9 satellite, scheduled for launch September 27 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in Lompoc, CA and is a joint effort between NASA and the USGS. The Landsat Program has been dubbed “a cornerstone of our Earth-observing capability” by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, as it will provide unprecedented access to information important to our understanding of our planet's forests, farms, cities and freshwater regions.
For half a century, the Landsat collection of satellites have been used to detect changes in our land use and measure land cover. These important data points are an invaluable tool for informing influences decision-makers in the U.S. and around the world. By tapping into this important geologic data, we have been able to fine-tune our understanding of changes to our environment, forecast future crop production, better respond to natural disasters and more!
BEST PLACES TO VIEW THE LANDSAT 9 LAUNCH
Vandenberg Space Force base, where the rocket launch will take place, is just minutes from Lompoc, making Lompoc and the surrounding area the best place to view the launch this September. Landsat 9 will be launching from SLC-3 (Space Launch Complex 3) launch site.
As Vandenberg is an active air force base, only members of the military will be able to view the launch on the base. However, we have put together a list of several great launch viewing sites where you’ll be able to enjoy all the action and even participate in events and activities only available during launch week.
- Lompoc Airport – Stay in one of our comfy hotels and enjoy a short drive to the official launch viewing site at the Lompoc Airport! Come enjoy launch activities, connect with NASA representatives, participate with interactive exhibits, displays and games, and more! Further information will be released in the weeks to come, so visit the event page to find the latest.
- Surf Beach – If skies are clear and the beach isn’t closed due to security issues, Surf Beach can be another great place to view the launch. Pack some snacks, your beach blanket and a camera for some Insta-worthy launch views and a relaxing afternoon at the beach.
- West Ocean Avenue – Minutes from downtown, West Ocean Avenue provides a good viewing location (again depending on weather). You’ll be parking along an active roadway, so make sure you are safely parked far enough off the roadway to avoid traffic. Several intersections provide a good location for viewing, 13th street/Arguello Blvd., Renwich Avenue, and Floradale Avenue/Ocean Ave.
- Other good viewing locations include:
- Santa Lucia Canyon Road & Victory Road, which offers views of SLC-4 and SLC-3.
- Top of Harris Grade Road – this is the farthest location from the launchpads but is a good elevation and distance if the fog rolls in.
- Hawk’s Nest – The Hawk’s nest viewing area (found on maps as Camellia Lane or Azalea Lane) is another high elevation viewing site if weather conditions are unfavorable.
- Marshallia Ranch Road – when launches happens from SLC-2, this location right outside Vandenberg is your best bet.
LAUNCH WEEK EVENTS & PRE-LAUNCH ACTIVITIES
During the days and weeks leading up to the launch, Lompoc will host a series of fun and informational Landsat 9 launch events and activities.
First, there are several fun ways to prepare before the launch by visiting the NASA website.
Here are some fun activities you can do at home before the launch:
- Create Landsat-inspired arts and crafts
- Join Camp Landsat, a 9-week summer camp leading up to the launch.
- You can also download and print LandSat 9 Collectors cards, posters, virtual meeting backgrounds
- Take a virtual interactive tour of the Landsat 9’s stops.
In addition to virtual activities and events, Lompoc will host many onsite events the week of the launch.
WHERE TO STAY & WHAT TO DO IN LOMPOC
- Go Wine tasting
- Visit La Purisima Mission
- Go to Jalama Beach
- Outdoor mural gallery
- Visit Old Town Lompoc
- Go Skydiving
- and much more!
We are excited to host you for this historic NASA Landsat launch. Please visit the official Explore Lompoc Landsat 9 website page to get up-to-date information on the launch.