Source: NASA

Mar. 29, 2013 • All spacecraft and instrument systems continue to perform normally. LDCM’s two instruments have been ramping up their Earth image collects, and on March 27, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) and Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) hit the 400 scenes per day mark. This is the data acquisition volume set forth in the specifications for LDCM and will be the operational acquisition standard.

Beginning on Friday, March 29, LDCM will under-fly Landsat 7, allowing the two satellites to collect coincident data that can be used for cross-calibration. The LDCM calibration team is evaluating data collected during this on-orbit check out period and adjustments will be made as necessary so that the LDCM data accurately reflects Earth’s radiance when operations are handed over to USGS and data are made available to the public in late May.

Other ongoing activities during the past week included the first OLI stellar calibration. This maneuver involved maneuvering the satellite so that it could view a designated star field so that the pointing accuracy of OLI could be evaluated. Additionally, tests of the X-band communication downlinks to six international ground stations occurred. International partners in Darwin, Australia; Alice Springs, Australia; Parepare, Indonesia; Kiruna, Sweden; Matera, Italy; and Neustrelitz, Germany, successfully downloaded test data.

The Mission Ops team also successfully performed a “blind” acquisition test using the Sioux Falls, S.D., ground station. This operation tested Mission Ops ability to communicate with the satellite in the event that no communication is scheduled, but that telemetry and commanding is necessary, triggering the need for the satellite transmitter to be turned on via ground command.