In an article written for Spaceflight Now, Stephen Clark chronicles the recent triumph of Landsat 5 over a failed downlink transmitter in December. The article is full of quotes from Bruce Quirk, the USGS land remote sensing program coordinator; Kristi Klein, the USGS Landsat Program Manger; Jim Tucker, a NASA scientist; and Richard Allen, a Landsat Science Team member giving a good overview of the current program status.
Quotes to Note
“Landsat 5 is kind of like the (Energizer) bunny — it just keeps running and running.”
—Bruce Quirk, chief of the United States Geological Survey’s land remote sensing program
“We have brought it from the brink of death and back to life so many times over the last seven years. It’s just amazing what our flight operations team and our engineers are able to do with that spacecraft. It’s the oldest spacecraft of its type still functioning. We’ve certainly gotten our money’s worth out of it.”
— Kristi Kline, Landsat program manager at the USGS Earth Resources Science and Observation Center
“Landsat data are a key climate data source. That’s true for vegetation, for the carbon cycle, and it’s true for the cryosphere.
—Compton Tucker, a NASA scientist who studies forests and climate change
“A sizable portion of our greenhouse gas contribution to the atmosphere comes from land use. And having Landsat data to look back to the 1970s, from there to now, you can then calculate or approximate year-by-year what that contribution is, and that’s extremely important.”
+ “Landsat fleet hanging on, waiting for reinforcements” by Stephen Clark, Spaceflight Now [external link]