Jun 12, 2012 • Peace, may not be the first thing that comes to mind when people think about satellites, but for the United Nations (UN), one satellite has been contributing to countries from around the world working side-by-side for almost 40 years. The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space held a special panel on the 40th anniversary of Landsat on June 6, 2012. The Landsat program has a long-standing “successful history of international cooperation in satellite-based earth observation,” says Gérard Brachet, former chairman and CEO of SPOT IMAGE, a French-based Earth Observation satellite company.

Landsat is responsible for laying the groundwork for the basic international rules that govern how images from satellites are acquired and distributed. These rules are still followed today and apply to many other satellite missions. Landsat images are available online to anyone from any nation, helping continue the global partnership. Tomatsu Igarashi spoke about the future of the Landsat program and the expectations of the anticipated new satellite in the Landsat series of satellites, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM). LDCM will be able to provide higher quality products documenting important information on water resources, agricultural lands, fisheries, disaster areas and sanitation issues that will provide information on matters that directly impact life everywhere on Earth, continuing forty years of global land records.

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