July 2014


Moon above Earth
Jul 11, 2014Landsat Looks to the Moon

[Source NASA / YouTube] Every full moon, Landsat 8 turns its back on Earth. As the satellite's orbit takes it to the nighttime side of the planet, Landsat 8 pivots to point at the moon. It scans the distant lunar surface multiple times, then [...]

SOM projection
Jun 26, 2014John Parr Snyder’s Space Oblique Mercator Projection

To continually map the Earth’s surface using Landsat data, an entirely new projection had to be created. This new projection was created by John Parr Snyder and is known as the Space Oblique Mercator (SOM) projection. It is considered, “one of [...]

May 17, 2013Thermal Infrared Sensor

The Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) measures land surface temperature in two thermal bands with a new technology that applies quantum physics to detect heat. TIRS was added to Landsat 8 when it became clear that state water resource managers rely [...]

May 17, 2013Operational Land Imager

The Operational Land Imager (OLI), built by the Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation, measures in the visible, near infrared, and short wave infrared portions of the spectrum. Its images have 15-meter (49 ft.) panchromatic and 30-meter [...]

Landsat 8
May 17, 2013Landsat 8

The Details Launch Date: February 11, 2013 Status: operational Sensors: OLI, TIRS Altitude: 705 km Inclination: 98.2° Orbit: polar, sun-synchronous Equatorial Crossing Time: nominally 10 AM (± 15 min.) local time (descending Read more [...]

LDCM launch
May 8, 2013Commissioning the Landsat Data Continuity Mission

On the beautifully clear Monday morning of Feb. 11, 2013, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission made its way from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base to low Earth orbit. The more than 1,000 Landsat scientists, engineers, data users, and fans [...]

Effect of gain degradation on TOA 30% reflector
Mar 19, 2013Landsat 7 Lifetime Degradation in Gains

Mar. 19, 2013 • The great strength of Landsat is its ability to let data users look at and analyze changes to the Earth's landscapes from 1972 to the present. Accurate quantitative analysis of such change is dependent on consistent Landsat data [...]

The Worldwide Reference System
Jan 21, 2013The Worldwide Reference System

The Worldwide Reference System (WRS) is a global notation system for Landsat data. It enables a user to inquire about satellite imagery over any portion of the world by specifying a nominal scene center designated by PATH and ROW numbers. The [...]

Jan 21, 2013The Thematic Mapper

The Thematic Mapper (TM) is an advanced, multispectral scanning, Earth resources sensor designed to achieve higher image resolution, sharper spectral separation, improved geometric fidelity and greater radiometric accuracy and resolution than [...]

Jan 21, 2013The Multispectral Scanner System

The Multispectral Scanner System (MSS) sensors were line scanning devices observing the Earth perpendicular to the orbital track. The cross-track scanning was accomplished by an oscillating mirror; six lines were scanned simultaneously in each [...]

Jan 21, 2013The Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus

The Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) instrument is a fixed "whisk-broom", eight-band, multispectral scanning radiometer capable of providing high-resolution imaging information of the Earth's surface. It detects spectrally-filtered radiation [...]

Jan 21, 2013The Enhanced Thematic Mapper

Landsat 6 was launched on Oct. 5, 1993 carrying the Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM) instrument. L6 did not achieve orbit.   ETM Bands Band Number µm Resolution 1 0.45-0.52 30 m 2 0.52-0.60 30 m 3 0.63-0.69 30 m 4 0.76-0.90 30 Read more [...]

Landsat 7
Jan 21, 2013Landsat 7

The Details Launch Date: April 15, 1999 Status: operational despite Scan Line Corrector (SLC) failure May 31, 2003 Sensors: ETM+ Altitude: 705 km Inclination: 98.2° Orbit: polar, sun-synchronous Equatorial Crossing Time: nominally Read more [...]

Landsat 6
Jan 21, 2013Landsat 6

The Details Launch Date: October 5, 1993 Status: lost at launch Sensor: ETM + read about the history of Landsat 6 More Technical Details Landsat 1 Landsat 2 Landsat 3 Landsat 4 Landsat 5 Landsat 6 Landsat 7 Landsat Read more [...]

Landsat 5
Jan 21, 2013Landsat 5

The Details Launch Date: March 1, 1984 Status: MSS instrument decommissioned Sensors: TM, MSS Altitude: 705 km Inclination: 98.2° Orbit: polar, sun-synchronous Equatorial Crossing Time: nominally 9:45 AM (± 15 min.) local time Read more [...]

Landsat 4
Jan 21, 2013Landsat 4

The Details Launch Date: July 16 , 1982 Status: decommissioned, June 15, 2001 Sensors: TM, MSS Altitude: 705 km Inclination: 98.2° Orbit: polar, sun-synchronous Equatorial Crossing Time: nominally 9:45 AM (± 15 min.) local Read more [...]

Landsat 3
Jan 21, 2013Landsat 3

The Details Launch Date: March 5, 1978 Status: expired, March 31, 1983 Sensors: RBV, MSS Altitude: nominally 900 km Inclination: 99.2° Orbit: polar, sun-synchronous Equatorial Crossing Time: nominally 9:42 AM mean local time Read more [...]

Landsat 2
Jan 21, 2013Landsat 2

The Details Launch Date: January 22, 1975 Status: expired, February 5, 1982 Sensors: RBV, MSS Altitude: nominally 900 km Inclination: 99.2° Orbit: polar, sun-synchronous Equatorial Crossing Time: nominally 9:42 AM mean local Read more [...]

Landsat 1
Jan 21, 2013Landsat 1

The Details Launch Date: July 23, 1972 Status: expired, January 6, 1978 Sensors: RBV, MSS Altitude: nominally 900 km Inclination: 99.2° Orbit: polar, sun-synchronous Equatorial Crossing Time: nominally 9:42 AM mean local time Read more [...]

Dec 21, 2012Mission Accomplished for Landsat 5

Source: Jon Campbell and Tim Newman, U.S. Geological Survey Dec. 21, 2012 • Today the U.S. Geological Survey announced that Landsat 5 will be decommissioned over the coming months, bringing to a close the longest-operating Earth observing [...]