- Today, on January 7, 2010, the U.S. Geological Survey ground station at Sioux Falls, South Dakota successfully conducted a test to collect data from Landsat 5. Continued testing is planned for the next several days, downlinking additional data to Sioux Falls and international sites. The EarthNow! site (earthnow.usgs.gov) displayed the data as they were acquired.
The recent successful test exercised the only remaining Traveling Wave Tube Amplifier (TWTA). The remaining TWTA is in fact the primary TWTA that was in operation when Landsat 5 launched in 1984. After several issues in late 1986 and 1987, the primary TWTA was turned off and the secondary, or redundant, TWTA has been used since. It was this redundant TWTA that failed on December 18, 2009. The TWTA that operated successfully today is the primary TWTA, the one that was disabled in 1987. Because of the extensive knowledge that the USGS Flight Operations Team has gained in sustaining the redundant TWTA for such a long time, they were able to apply that information to the primary TWTA for its first successful transmission in over 22 years. Further testing will determined the viability of the primary TWTA for extended operational Landsat 5 data acquisitions.