RIP Virginia T Norwood (96), "Mother of Landsat"

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In summary, Virginia Norwood, a pioneering aerospace engineer and the "Mother of Landsat," passed away at the age of 96. She was a key figure in the development of satellite land imaging technology and played a crucial role in the creation of NASA's Landsat program. Norwood graduated from MIT and worked on various innovative programs, receiving input from experts in multiple disciplines to design the Multispectral Scanner. She was known for her dedication and expertise in the field, even turning down a colleague who quit rather than work under her leadership. Norwood's legacy continues to live on through her contributions to the field of satellite imagery.
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Virginia Norwood, a woman who changed the way we see the world, died over the weekend at the age of 96.

Norwood, known as the "Mother of Landsat," according to NASA, was a founding figure in the field of satellite land imaging. She designed and championed a piece of technology that is foundational to how we get images of the earth from space.

The pioneering woman graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and worked on several innovative programs that changed the world, NASA added.

She developed the Multispectral Scanner, which was key to the development of NASA's longest-running program for getting satellite imagery from space.

The Landsat program is a joint program between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey.

From Washington Post -
Virginia Norwood, a pioneering aerospace engineer who had a pivotal role in finding safe Apollo landing sites, died at 96. A male colleague once quit rather than work under Ms. Norwood’s leadership. When he asked to return, she turned him down.
Love the picture with the slide ruler. That would be before the HP-25, 35, 41CX or TI's SR-10, -11, -20, -51, TI-58C
She embarked on a user-based design study that captured input from the who’s who of resource managers of the era: Ralph Shay from Purdue University; Arch Park from the Department of Agriculture; meteorologist and pollution expert Morris Tepper; and geologist Bill Fischer, hydrologist David Phoenix, and cartographer Alden Colvocoresses, all from the US Geological Survey (USGS).

She spent time in the field with agronomists as they measured light reflectance, counting photons with field spectrometers to assess plant health and uncover the spectral “signatures” of different crop types. She combed the data from laboratories like those at Purdue University and the Environmental Research Institute of Michigan that were flying multispectral imagers on planes.

“I had to talk to people in all kinds of disciplines that I had no idea about before, so I found it utterly fascinating,” she remembers.

She analyzed their input and put together specifications for what spectral bands a space-based instrument should include, what its revisit time should be, and what users needed in terms of geographic pixel location knowledge, spatial resolution, and spectral measurement accuracy.

“I tried to get an intersection of their needs and make the optimal specifications for the scanner itself which would satisfy the broadest range of them,” Norwood explains.
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