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Gilbert company to build land mapping satellite after NASA approval

(Orbital ATK Facebook Photo)

PHOENIX — Orbital ATK, a Gilbert-based aerospace manufacturing and defense company, gained approval from NASA this week to build a land surface mapping satellite.

Orbital ATK will test and manufacture its Landsat 9 spacecraft at the company’s Gilbert facility.

The spacecraft was planned for a late 2020 launch.

“I am extremely pleased with the progress our team has made since the contract was awarded about a year and a half ago,” said Steve Krein, vice president of science and environmental programs at Orbital ATK, said in a press release

“We have passed every milestone and remain on schedule to launch in 2020,” he said.

Representatives from NASA and Orbital ATK met from Feb. 26 to March 1 to conduct a critical design review of the mission to ensure that the mission would meet technical performance measures and requirements.

Orbital ATK has built three other Landsat satellites, the most recent being Landsat 8, which launched in 2013. The other two were launched in the 1980s.

“This will be the fourth Landsat satellite built by Orbital ATK for NASA and demonstrates our continued ability to deliver high-quality land imaging satellites that support the Landsat program’s long record of success,” Krein said.

The new spacecraft will be maintained and operated by the U.S. Geological Survey once it is launched and in orbit.

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