On September 1, 2007, Landsat 5 made its 125,000th orbit of the Earth. Designed to complete only 16,000 orbits, the spacecraft continues to deliver images of our ever-changing planet daily. Through domestic and international ground stations, much of the Earth is imaged by the Thematic Mapper (TM) instrument, the operational imaging sensor aboard Landsat 5.
The satellite has experienced major failures with aging components. One of four reaction wheels, one of three batteries, one of two star trackers, and two of two solar array drives have all been deemed unusable. While the solar array cannot rotate due to the failed drive, the solar array, itself, continues to charge the onboard batteries. Innovative changes to daily operations have allowed the mission to survive and continue to downlink scenes around the world
+ USGS Landsat website
By Vanessa Lloyd, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Northrop Grumman recently signed agreements to license three technologies from NASA related to satellite servicing. Two of the technologies were developed by