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Updated: April 18, 2023

Virginia Norwood, the mother of NASA's Landsat program, passes away

Norwood's pioneering work in remote sensing paved the way for modern satellite imagery.

Virginia Norwood, the renowned scientist who led the development of NASA's Landsat program, passed away at the age of 91. Norwood's pioneering work in remote sensing helped to revolutionize the field of satellite imaging and her legacy continues to impact the scientific community today.

Norwood joined NASA in 1965, where she was tasked with leading the development of Landsat, the world's first civilian Earth observation satellite program. Under her leadership, the Landsat program launched its first satellite in 1972, marking the beginning of a new era of remote sensing.

Norwood's contributions to the Landsat program were crucial in enabling scientists to better understand our planet's changing landscape. The program's satellite imagery has been used to track everything from deforestation and urbanization to natural disasters and climate change.

Norwood was widely recognized for her accomplishments, including receiving the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal in 1974, the William T. Pecora Award in 1985, and the National Medal of Science in 1986.

"Virginia Norwood was a true pioneer in the field of remote sensing, and her work has had a profound impact on our understanding of the Earth and its ecosystems," said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in a statement. "Her legacy will continue to inspire future generations of scientists and researchers for many years to come."

Norwood's contributions to the field of remote sensing have paved the way for modern satellite imagery, and her legacy will continue to impact the scientific community for generations to come. She will be greatly missed by all those who knew and worked with her.


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