GARRETSON- Mayors from three towns in southeastern South Dakota joined scientists and representatives from the state's Congressional delegation to watch the launch of an earth-observing satellite at the U.S. Geological Survey's Earth Resources Observation Systems in Garretson.

The rocket carrying the Landsat 8 launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base along California's central coast. Landsat satellites have been continuously snapping photos of the globe for the past 40 years to document changes to the earth.

The USGS Center for EROS is the main repository for the satellite images.

EROS director Frank Kelly says Monday's launch had been more than 10 years in the making for many of the scientists.

Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether was joined by mayors from Harrisburg and Dell Rapids to watch the launch.

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