Landsat Series Satellites

Introduction

The Landsat program is a series of Earth observation satellites that have been used to capture images of the planet’s surface for over four decades. The first Landsat satellite was launched in 1972, and since then, several more have been launched into orbit.

The Landsat program has played a significant role in advancing our understanding of the Earth’s natural resources and has been instrumental in supporting a wide range of scientific and commercial applications. The satellites have been used to study changes in land use, monitor natural disasters, track deforestation, and support agriculture and forestry management, among other applications.

Each Landsat satellite carries a suite of sensors that capture images of the Earth’s surface in various wavelengths of light. These images can be combined to create high-resolution, multispectral images that reveal details about the planet’s surface and help researchers better understand the natural and human-induced changes occurring on our planet.

Landsat Series Satellites

The Landsat series of satellites is a group of Earth observation satellites that have been operated by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) since 1972. The Landsat program is the longest-running civilian Earth observation program in history and has provided valuable data for a wide range of applications, including land use management, agriculture, forestry, geology, and climate change research.

The Landsat series currently consists of eight satellites, each with its own unique set of sensors and capabilities. Here’s a brief overview of each Landsat satellite:

Satellite Launch YearOrbit TypeSensorResolution Band CoverageAgency/O perator
Landsat 1 July 23, 1972 Sun-synchronous Multispectral Scanner (MSS)60 m4 (green, red, and two infrared bands)NASA/USGS
Landsat 2January 22, 1975Sun-synchronousMultispectral Scanner (MSS)60 m 4 (green, red, and two infrared bands)NASA/USGS
Landsat 3March 5, 1978Sun-synchronousMultispectral Scanner (MSS)60 m4 (green, red, and two infrared bands)NASA/USGS
Landsat 4July 16, 1982Sun-synchronousThematic Mapper (TM)30 m7 (blue, green, red, near-infrared, mid-infrared, thermal infrared, and panchromatic)NASA/USGS
Landsat 5March 1, 1984Sun-synchronousThematic Mapper (TM)30 m7 (blue, green, red, near-infrared, mid-infrared, thermal infrared, and panchromatic)NASA/USG S
Landsat 6October 5, 1993Failed to reach orbit NASA
Landsat 7April 15, 1999Sun-synchronousEnhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+)30 m (panchromatic), 60 m (multispectral)8 (blue, green, red, near-infrared, mid-infrared, thermal infrared, panchromatic, and cirrus)NASA/USG S
Landsat 8February 11, 2013
Sun-synchronousOperational Land Imager (OLI) and Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS)30 m (panchromatic and multispectral), 100 m (thermal infrared) 11 (ultra-blue, blue, green, red, near-infrared, short-wave infrared 1 and 2, cirrus, panchromatic, thermal infrared 1 and 2)NASA/USGS

Note: The Landsat series is jointly managed by NASA and the US Geological Survey (USGS). The Landsat 6 satellite failed to reach orbit, so it did not collect any data. The Landsat satellites provide valuable information on land use, land cover, and changes to the Earth’s surface over time, which is useful for various applications such as agriculture, forestry, water resource management, and urban planning.

Landsat 1

Landsat 1 was the first Earth observation satellite in the Landsat program, launched on July 23, 1972, by NASA. It was equipped with the Multispectral Scanner (MSS), which was capable of capturing images in four spectral bands (0.5-1.1 μm) with a spatial resolution of 80 meters. The MSS provided data for a wide range of applications, including land use management, forestry, geology, agriculture, and water resources.

The Landsat 1 mission lasted for almost 6 years until January 6, 1978, when a failure in its attitude control system caused the satellite to lose its ability to point its instruments at the Earth. Nevertheless, Landsat 1 provided valuable data for the Earth science community and helped pave the way for the Landsat program’s future missions.

Landsat 1 provided the first systematic, global coverage of the Earth’s land surfaces, revolutionizing the study of land use and land cover change. Its data helped researchers to better understand the dynamics of the Earth’s ecosystems and the impact of human activities on the environment. Landsat 1 data was also used in the early stages of natural resources management, such as mapping land use patterns, identifying potential mineral resources, and monitoring the extent of forested areas.

Overall, Landsat 1 was a groundbreaking mission that laid the foundation for the Landsat program’s future success. Its data continues to be used today, along with data from subsequent Landsat missions, to monitor and understand the Earth’s environment and its changes over time.

Landsat 1 Satellite Characteristics

Landsat 1 was the first satellite in the Landsat program, launched in 1972. Here are some of the key characteristics of Landsat 1:

  1. Sensor: Multispectral Scanner System (MSS)
  2. Bands: Four spectral bands (green, red, and two infrared bands)
  3. Spatial resolution: 80 meters
  4. Swath width: 185 kilometers
  5. Revisit time: 18 days
  6. Orbit: Sun-synchronous, polar orbit with an altitude of 917 kilometers
  7. Mission duration: 6 years
  8. Agency/Operator: NASA/USGS

The MSS sensor on Landsat 1 was the first to provide multi-spectral imaging of the Earth’s surface, allowing for the identification and characterization of different land cover types. The four spectral bands provided information on the reflectance of different wavelengths of light, allowing for the detection of vegetation, water, and other land cover features.

The spatial resolution of Landsat 1 was 80 meters, meaning that each pixel in the image represented an area of 80 square meters on the ground. This resolution was a significant improvement over previous satellite systems and allowed for more detailed mapping of land cover and land use.

The swath width of Landsat 1 was 185 kilometers, meaning that each orbit covered a strip of land 185 kilometers wide. This allowed for wide area coverage and made Landsat 1 a valuable tool for mapping large-scale environmental features such as forests, deserts, and oceans.

The Sun-synchronous, polar orbit of Landsat 1 ensured that the satellite passed over the same area of the Earth at the same time of day on each orbit, providing consistent lighting conditions for each image. The orbit also allowed for global coverage of the Earth’s surface.

Landsat 1 Examples

Landsat 1 was the first satellite launched in the Landsat program, and its data has been used in a wide range of applications. Some examples of the uses of Landsat 1 data include:

  • Land use and land cover mapping: Landsat 1 data has been used to create detailed maps of land use and land cover, which are used for urban planning, natural resource management, and environmental monitoring.
  • Crop monitoring: Landsat 1 data has been used to monitor crop growth and health, helping farmers to optimize their yields and reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Forest management: Landsat 1 data has been used to monitor changes in forest cover and health, helping to identify areas that are at risk of deforestation and enabling better forest management practices.
  • Water resources management: Landsat 1 data has been used to monitor changes in water levels and quality in lakes, rivers, and reservoirs, helping to manage water resources for drinking, irrigation, and other uses.
  • Disaster management: Landsat 1 data has been used to assess the impact of natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires, helping to guide emergency response efforts and aid in recovery.

These are just a few examples of the many applications of Landsat 1 data. Over the years, the Landsat program has continued to provide valuable data for a wide range of environmental and societal applications.

Landsat 1 Coverage Area

Landsat 1, also known as ERTS-1 (Earth Resources Technology Satellite 1), had a global coverage area, meaning it was capable of imaging any location on Earth. Its imaging capabilities allowed it to capture images of the Earth’s surface in a swath that was approximately 185 kilometers wide, with a spatial resolution of 80 meters. The satellite had a polar orbit, circling the Earth from north to south and back again, and completing one orbit every 103 minutes.

Landsat 1 was in operation from 1972 to 1978, during which time it captured more than 300,000 images of the Earth’s surface. While its imaging capabilities were limited compared to more recent Landsat satellites, the data collected by Landsat 1 was instrumental in the development of remote sensing technology and the use of satellite data for environmental monitoring and management.

The coverage area of Landsat 1 included all the continents, oceans, and major water bodies on Earth. This means that it was able to capture images of land features such as forests, grasslands, deserts, and mountains, as well as water features such as lakes, rivers, and coastlines. Some of the areas imaged by Landsat 1 include:

  • The Amazon rainforest in South America
  • The Sahara desert in Africa
  • The Rocky Mountains in North America
  • The Great Barrier Reef in Australia
  • The Himalayan mountains in Asia
  • The Arctic and Antarctic regions

The global coverage provided by Landsat 1 was a significant milestone in the history of Earth observation, and paved the way for the development of subsequent Landsat satellites that continue to provide valuable data for a wide range of environmental and societal applications.

Landsat 2

https://eo.belspo.be ors

Landsat 2 was the second satellite launched in the Landsat program, launched on January 22, 1975, by NASA. Like its predecessor Landsat 1, Landsat 2 was equipped with the Multispectral Scanner (MSS) sensor, which was capable of capturing images in four spectral bands (0.5-1.1 μm) with a spatial resolution of 80 meters. The satellite provided valuable data for a wide range of applications, including land use management, forestry, geology, agriculture, and water resources.

One of the main improvements of Landsat 2 over its predecessor was the addition of a new onboard calibration system that allowed for more accurate measurements of the sensor’s response to the Earth’s surface. This improved the accuracy and consistency of Landsat data and ensured its reliability for scientific analysis and applications.

Landsat 2 operated for more than six years, providing valuable data for the Earth science community. Its data was used in a wide range of applications, including mapping land use patterns, monitoring changes in vegetation, assessing the extent of deforestation, identifying mineral resources, and studying the Earth’s climate.

Overall, Landsat 2 was a significant step forward for the Landsat program, providing high-quality, reliable data for Earth observation applications. Its data, along with data from other Landsat missions, continues to be used today to monitor and understand the Earth’s environment and its changes over time.

Landsat 2 Satellite Characteristics

Landsat 2 was launched in 1975, as the second satellite in the Landsat program. Here are some of the key characteristics of Landsat 2:

  1. Sensor: Multispectral Scanner System (MSS)
  2. Bands: Four spectral bands (green, red, and two infrared bands)
  3. Spatial resolution: 80 meters
  4. Swath width: 185 kilometers
  5. Revisit time: 18 days
  6. Orbit: Sun-synchronous, polar orbit with an altitude of 917 kilometers
  7. Mission duration: 6 years
  8. Agency/Operator: NASA/USGS

Like Landsat 1, Landsat 2 was equipped with a Multispectral Scanner System (MSS) sensor, which provided multi-spectral imaging of the Earth’s surface. The four spectral bands on Landsat 2 were similar to those on Landsat 1, providing information on the reflectance of green, red, and two infrared wavelengths.

The spatial resolution of Landsat 2 was 80 meters, which meant that each pixel in the image represented an area of 80 square meters on the ground. This resolution was a significant improvement over previous satellite systems and allowed for more detailed mapping of land cover and land use.

The swath width of Landsat 2 was 185 kilometers, which was the same as that of Landsat 1. This allowed for wide area coverage and made Landsat 2 a valuable tool for mapping large-scale environmental features such as forests, deserts, and oceans.

The orbit of Landsat 2 was also sun-synchronous and polar, with an altitude of 917 kilometers. This ensured that the satellite passed over the same area of the Earth at the same time of day on each orbit, providing consistent lighting conditions for each image. The orbit also allowed for global coverage of the Earth’s surface.

Landsat 2 Examples

Landsat 2 was launched in 1975, and its data has been used in a variety of applications. Some examples of the uses of Landsat 2 data include:

  • Agriculture: Landsat 2 data has been used to monitor crop health and growth, detect crop stress, and assess the impact of weather on crop yields. This information is used by farmers to optimize their crop management practices.
  • Forestry: Landsat 2 data has been used to map forest cover and detect changes in forest health over time. This information is used by forest managers to guide their management practices and to identify areas that are at risk of deforestation or other disturbances.
  • Water resources management: Landsat 2 data has been used to monitor water levels and quality in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, helping to manage water resources for drinking, irrigation, and other uses.
  • Urban planning: Landsat 2 data has been used to map urban areas and monitor urban growth over time. This information is used by city planners to guide urban development and infrastructure planning.
  • Environmental monitoring: Landsat 2 data has been used to monitor changes in the environment, such as land use changes, natural disasters, and habitat fragmentation. This information is used by conservationists and other environmental managers to protect and preserve natural resources.

These are just a few examples of the many applications of Landsat 2 data. The Landsat program continues to provide valuable data for a wide range of environmental and societal applications.

Landsat 2 Coverage Area

Landsat 2 was capable of imaging any location on Earth, providing global coverage of the planet. Its imaging capabilities allowed it to capture images of the Earth’s surface in a swath that was approximately 185 kilometers wide, with a spatial resolution of 80 meters. The satellite had a polar orbit, circling the Earth from north to south and back again, and completing one orbit every 103 minutes.

The coverage area of Landsat 2 included all the continents, oceans, and major water bodies on Earth. Some of the areas imaged by Landsat 2 include:

  • The Nile River in Egypt
  • The Great Barrier Reef in Australia
  • The Himalayan Mountains in Asia
  • The Amazon Rainforest in South America
  • The Rocky Mountains in North America
  • The Sahara Desert in Africa

Landsat 2 data was used in a variety of applications, including agriculture, forestry, water resources management, urban planning, and environmental monitoring. The data provided by Landsat 2 helped to improve our understanding of the Earth’s natural resources and the impact of human activities on the planet. The global coverage provided by Landsat 2 was a significant advancement in the history of Earth observation, and paved the way for the development of subsequent Landsat satellites.

Landsat 3

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landsat_3

Landsat 3 was the third satellite launched in the Landsat program, launched on March 5, 1978, by NASA. Like its predecessors, Landsat 1 and Landsat 2, Landsat 3 was equipped with the Multispectral Scanner (MSS) sensor, which was capable of capturing images in four spectral bands (0.5-1.1 μm) with a spatial resolution of 80 meters. The satellite provided valuable data for a wide range of applications, including land use management, forestry, geology, agriculture, and water resources.

One of the key improvements of Landsat 3 over its predecessors was the addition of a new thermal infrared sensor called the Return Beam Vidicon (RBV). The RBV provided data in two spectral bands (0.8-1.1 μm and 10.4-12.6 μm) and a spatial resolution of 80 meters, which allowed for the measurement of surface temperatures and thermal properties. This new capability expanded the range of applications for Landsat data, including monitoring volcanic activity, studying the energy balance of ecosystems, and mapping urban heat islands.

Landsat 3 operated for more than six years, providing valuable data for the Earth science community. Its data was used in a wide range of applications, including mapping land use patterns, monitoring changes in vegetation, assessing the extent of deforestation, identifying mineral resources, and studying the Earth’s climate.

Overall, Landsat 3 was a significant advancement for the Landsat program, providing new capabilities and expanding the range of applications for Landsat data. Its data, along with data from other Landsat missions, continues to be used today to monitor and understand the Earth’s environment and its changes over time.

Landsat 3 Satellite Characteristics

Landsat 3 was launched in 1978, as the third satellite in the Landsat program. Here are some of the key characteristics of Landsat 3:

  1. Sensor: Multispectral Scanner System (MSS)
  2. Bands: Four spectral bands (green, red, and two infrared bands)
  3. Spatial resolution: 80 meters
  4. Swath width: 185 kilometers
  5. Revisit time: 18 days
  6. Orbit: Sun-synchronous, polar orbit with an altitude of 915 kilometers
  7. Mission duration: 5 years
  8. Agency/Operator: NASA/USGS

Landsat 3 was similar in design to Landsat 2, with a Multispectral Scanner System (MSS) sensor that provided multi-spectral imaging of the Earth’s surface. The four spectral bands on Landsat 3 were the same as those on Landsat 2, providing information on the reflectance of green, red, and two infrared wavelengths.

The spatial resolution of Landsat 3 was 80 meters, which was the same as that of Landsat 2. This resolution allowed for more detailed mapping of land cover and land use, and was a significant improvement over previous satellite systems.

The swath width of Landsat 3 was also 185 kilometers, which was the same as that of Landsat 2. This allowed for wide area coverage and made Landsat 3 a valuable tool for mapping large-scale environmental features.

The orbit of Landsat 3 was sun-synchronous and polar, with an altitude of 915 kilometers. This ensured that the satellite passed over the same area of the Earth at the same time of day on each orbit, providing consistent lighting conditions for each image. The orbit also allowed for global coverage of the Earth’s surface.

Landsat 3 Examples

Landsat 3 was launched in 1978, and its data has been used in a variety of applications. Some examples of the uses of Landsat 3 data include:

  • Geology and mineral exploration: Landsat 3 data has been used to identify mineral deposits, map geologic formations, and identify areas of potential mineral resources. This information is used by mining companies to guide their exploration activities.
  • Land use and land cover mapping: Landsat 3 data has been used to map land use and land cover, including urban areas, agricultural lands, forests, and wetlands. This information is used by land managers and urban planners to guide land use decisions.
  • Environmental monitoring: Landsat 3 data has been used to monitor changes in the environment, including deforestation, land degradation, and changes in water resources. This information is used by conservationists and other environmental managers to protect and preserve natural resources.
  • Disaster response: Landsat 3 data has been used to support disaster response efforts, including mapping the extent of floods, wildfires, and other natural disasters. This information is used by emergency responders to guide their response efforts.
  • Climate change research: Landsat 3 data has been used to study the impacts of climate change on the Earth’s surface, including changes in vegetation patterns, glacier melt, and sea ice extent. This information is used by climate scientists to improve our understanding of the Earth’s changing climate.

These are just a few examples of the many applications of Landsat 3 data. The Landsat program continues to provide valuable data for a wide range of environmental and societal applications.

Landsat 3 Coverage Area

Landsat 3, like the other Landsat satellites, provided global coverage of the Earth’s surface. Its imaging capabilities allowed it to capture images of the Earth’s surface in a swath that was approximately 185 kilometers wide, with a spatial resolution of 80 meters. The satellite had a polar orbit, circling the Earth from north to south and back again, and completing one orbit every 103 minutes.

Some examples of the areas imaged by Landsat 3 include:

  1. The Amazon rainforest in South America
  2. The Great Barrier Reef in Australia
  3. The Himalayan Mountains in Asia
  4. The Nile River in Egypt
  5. The Sahara Desert in Africa
  6. The Rocky Mountains in North America
  7. The boreal forests in Canada and Russia
  8. The Australian Outback
  9. The Indonesian archipelago
  10. The Antarctic continent

Landsat 3 data was used in a variety of applications, including land use and land cover mapping, geology and mineral exploration, environmental monitoring, disaster response, and climate change research. The global coverage provided by Landsat 3 was a significant advancement in the history of Earth observation and helped to improve our understanding of the Earth’s natural resources and the impact of human activities on the planet.

Landsat 4

Landsat 4 was the fourth satellite launched in the Landsat program, launched on July 16, 1982, by NASA. Unlike its predecessors, Landsat 4 was equipped with two sensors: the Multispectral Scanner (MSS) and the Thematic Mapper (TM). The MSS was similar to the sensor used on previous Landsat satellites, capable of capturing images in four spectral bands (0.5-1.1 μm) with a spatial resolution of 80 meters. The TM was a new sensor that provided higher spatial resolution and additional spectral bands, allowing for more detailed and accurate data collection.

The TM sensor on Landsat 4 provided data in seven spectral bands: three visible and near-infrared bands (0.45-0.52 μm, 0.52-0.60 μm, and 0.63-0.69 μm), one mid-infrared band (0.76-0.90 μm), and three thermal infrared bands (10.4-12.5 μm). The TM sensor had a spatial resolution of 30 meters, which was three times higher than the MSS sensor on previous Landsat satellites. This improved spatial resolution allowed for more detailed mapping and analysis of the Earth’s surface.

Landsat 4 operated for more than nine years, providing valuable data for the Earth science community. Its data was used in a wide range of applications, including mapping land use patterns, monitoring changes in vegetation, assessing the extent of deforestation, identifying mineral resources, and studying the Earth’s climate.

Overall, Landsat 4 was a significant improvement for the Landsat program, providing higher-quality, more detailed data for Earth observation applications. Its data, along with data from other Landsat missions, continues to be used today to monitor and understand the Earth’s environment and its changes over time.

Landsat 4 Satellite Characteristics

Landsat 4 was launched in 1982, as the fourth satellite in the Landsat program. Here are some of the key characteristics of Landsat 4:

  1. Sensor: Thematic Mapper (TM)
  2. Bands: Seven spectral bands (blue, green, red, near-infrared, mid-infrared, thermal infrared, and panchromatic)
  3. Spatial resolution: 30 meters (except for the panchromatic band, which had a spatial resolution of 15 meters)
  4. Swath width: 185 kilometers
  5. Revisit time: 16 days
  6. Orbit: Sun-synchronous, polar orbit with an altitude of 705 kilometers
  7. Mission duration: 10 years
  8. Agency/Operator: NASA/USGS

Landsat 4 was a significant improvement over previous Landsat satellites, as it featured a new sensor called the Thematic Mapper (TM). The TM had seven spectral bands, including the blue, green, red, near-infrared, mid-infrared, thermal infrared, and panchromatic bands. This provided more spectral information than previous Landsat satellites and allowed for more accurate land cover and land use mapping.

The spatial resolution of Landsat 4 was 30 meters for most of the spectral bands, with the exception of the panchromatic band, which had a spatial resolution of 15 meters. This high spatial resolution allowed for more detailed mapping of land cover and land use, and enabled the identification of smaller features on the Earth’s surface.

The swath width of Landsat 4 was the same as that of previous Landsat satellites, at 185 kilometers. This allowed for wide area coverage and made Landsat 4 a valuable tool for mapping large-scale environmental features.

The orbit of Landsat 4 was sun-synchronous and polar, with an altitude of 705 kilometers. This ensured that the satellite passed over the same area of the Earth at the same time of day on each orbit, providing consistent lighting conditions for each image. The orbit also allowed for global coverage of the Earth’s surface.

Landsat 4 Examples

Landsat 4 was launched in 1982 and provided valuable data for a wide range of applications. Some examples of the uses of Landsat 4 data include:

  • Agriculture: Landsat 4 data was used to monitor crop health and identify areas of high agricultural productivity. This information was used by farmers and policymakers to guide decisions related to crop management and food security.
  • Forest management: Landsat 4 data was used to monitor changes in forest cover, including deforestation and forest degradation. This information was used by land managers and conservationists to guide forest management practices and protect natural resources.
  • Water resource management: Landsat 4 data was used to monitor changes in water resources, including the extent of wetlands, river and lake levels, and changes in snow cover. This information was used by water resource managers to guide decisions related to water allocation and management.
  • Urban planning: Landsat 4 data was used to map urban areas and monitor changes in urban land use. This information was used by urban planners to guide decisions related to land use and infrastructure development.
  • Climate change research: Landsat 4 data was used to study the impacts of climate change on the Earth’s surface, including changes in vegetation patterns, glacier melt, and sea ice extent. This information was used by climate scientists to improve our understanding of the Earth’s changing climate.

These are just a few examples of the many applications of Landsat 4 data. The Landsat program continues to provide valuable data for a wide range of environmental and societal applications.

Landsat 4 Coverage Area

Landsat 4 provided global coverage of the Earth’s surface, and its orbit covered all the continents, oceans, and major land features. Some examples of the areas imaged by Landsat 4 include:

  1. The Amazon rainforest in South America
  2. The Great Barrier Reef in Australia
  3. The Himalayan Mountains in Asia
  4. The Nile River in Egypt
  5. The Sahara Desert in Africa
  6. The Rocky Mountains in North America
  7. The boreal forests in Canada and Russia
  8. The Australian Outback
  9. The Indonesian archipelago
  10. The Antarctic continent

Landsat 4 data was used in a wide range of applications, including land use and land cover mapping, geology and mineral exploration, environmental monitoring, disaster response, and climate change research. The global coverage provided by Landsat 4 was a significant advancement in the history of Earth observation and helped to improve our understanding of the Earth’s natural resources and the impact of human activities on the planet.

Landsat 5

Landsat 5 was the fifth satellite launched in the Landsat program, launched on March 1, 1984, by NASA. Like its predecessor, Landsat 4, Landsat 5 was equipped with two sensors: the Multispectral Scanner (MSS) and the Thematic Mapper (TM). The MSS was similar to the sensor used on previous Landsat satellites, capable of capturing images in four spectral bands (0.5-1.1 μm) with a spatial resolution of 80 meters. The TM was a new sensor that provided higher spatial resolution and additional spectral bands, allowing for more detailed and accurate data collection.

The TM sensor on Landsat 5 provided data in seven spectral bands: three visible and near-infrared bands (0.45-0.52 μm, 0.52-0.60 μm, and 0.63-0.69 μm), one mid-infrared band (0.76-0.90 μm), and three thermal infrared bands (10.4-12.5 μm). The TM sensor had a spatial resolution of 30 meters, which was three times higher than the MSS sensor on previous Landsat satellites. This improved spatial resolution allowed for more detailed mapping and analysis of the Earth’s surface.

Landsat 5 operated for more than 28 years, far beyond its designed lifespan of three years, and became the longest-operating Earth observation satellite in history until it was surpassed by Landsat 7. Its data was used in a wide range of applications, including mapping land use patterns, monitoring changes in vegetation, assessing the extent of deforestation, identifying mineral resources, and studying the Earth’s climate.

Despite experiencing several technical issues during its lifetime, Landsat 5 was a remarkable success story for the Landsat program, providing a wealth of valuable data for the Earth science community. Its data, along with data from other Landsat missions, continues to be used today to monitor and understand the Earth’s environment and its changes over time. The satellite was finally decommissioned on June 5, 2013, after providing almost three decades of continuous data.

Landsat 5 Satellite Characteristics

Landsat 5 was a polar-orbiting satellite designed for remote sensing of the Earth’s land surface. It had the following characteristics:

  1. Launch date: March 1, 1984
  2. Mission duration: Over 28 years (retired on June 5, 2013)
  3. Orbit type: Sun-synchronous polar orbit
  4. Altitude: 705 km
  5. Inclination: 98.2 degrees
  6. Revisit time: 16 days
  7. Imaging sensors: Thematic Mapper (TM) and Multispectral Scanner (MSS)
  8. Bands: TM had 7 spectral bands (0.45-12.5 µm) and MSS had 4 spectral bands (0.5-1.1 µm)
  9. Spatial resolution: TM had a resolution of 30 meters (bands 1-5, 7) and 120 meters (band 6), and MSS had a resolution of 60 meters (bands 1-4)
  10. Swath width: 185 km
  11. Data quantization: 8-bit (TM) and 6-bit (MSS)
  12. Data rate: Up to 84 Mbps
  13. Agency/Operator: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and United States Geological Survey (USGS)

Landsat 5 was instrumental in providing long-term, consistent data for monitoring and understanding changes in the Earth’s land surface, and has contributed to a wide range of applications, including agriculture, forestry, geology, hydrology, land use/land cover mapping, and urban planning. Its long mission duration made it one of the most successful Earth observation missions ever flown.

Landsat 5 Examples

Landsat 5 was in operation from 1984 to 2013, and during that time it captured millions of images of the Earth’s surface. Here are some examples of Landsat 5 images:

  • The Amazon rainforest: Landsat 5 captured many images of the Amazon rainforest over the course of its mission. These images were used to monitor deforestation rates and track changes in the rainforest over time.
  • The Great Barrier Reef: Landsat 5 captured images of the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system, located off the coast of Australia. These images were used to monitor the health of the reef and track changes in coral cover over time.
  • Agricultural areas: Landsat 5 captured images of agricultural areas around the world, including the Great Plains of the United States and the wheat fields of Australia. These images were used to monitor crop growth and health, and to help farmers make decisions about irrigation and fertilizer application.
  • Urban areas: Landsat 5 captured images of cities around the world, including New York City, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. These images were used to monitor urban growth and expansion, and to track changes in land use over time.
  • Glaciers: Landsat 5 captured images of glaciers around the world, including those in Alaska, the Himalayas, and Antarctica. These images were used to monitor changes in glacier size and extent over time, and to help researchers understand the impacts of climate change on glaciers.

Overall, Landsat 5 provided valuable data for a wide range of applications, including land cover and land use mapping, environmental monitoring, and natural resource management. Its long mission life and consistent data quality made it a valuable tool for Earth observation and remote sensing.

Landsat 5 Coverage Area

Landsat 5 had a global coverage area, meaning it imaged almost the entire Earth’s surface during its mission. However, Landsat satellites were not able to capture images of the poles beyond 82 degrees latitude due to their sun-synchronous orbits.

Some of the specific areas that Landsat 5 imaged include:

  • The United States: Landsat 5 imaged the entire United States multiple times during its mission, providing valuable data for a wide range of applications such as agriculture, forestry, and land use/land cover mapping.
  • Amazon Rainforest: Landsat 5 imaged the Amazon rainforest, the world’s largest tropical rainforest, which spans over 7 million square kilometers across South America.
  • The Sahara Desert: Landsat 5 imaged the Sahara Desert, the world’s largest hot desert, which spans over 9 million square kilometers across northern Africa.
  • The Great Barrier Reef: Landsat 5 imaged the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system, located off the coast of Australia.
  • The Himalayas: Landsat 5 imaged the Himalayas, the highest mountain range in the world, which spans over 2,400 kilometers across several countries including India, Nepal, and Bhutan.

These are just a few examples of the many areas that Landsat 5 imaged during its mission, providing valuable data for a wide range of scientific, environmental, and societal applications.

Landsat 6

Landsat 6 was the sixth satellite launched in the Landsat program, launched on October 5, 1993, by NASA. Unfortunately, the mission failed to reach orbit, and the satellite was lost. The Delta II rocket that carried Landsat 6 malfunctioned, and the payload was released into an incorrect orbit, causing the satellite to fail to deploy its solar panels properly and to become unable to communicate with ground stations.

Landsat 6 was designed to carry two sensors: the Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM) and the Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) radiometer. The ETM was an improved version of the TM sensor used on Landsat 4 and 5, providing higher spatial resolution and additional spectral bands for more detailed data collection. The ARIMA radiometer was designed to measure temperature variations in the Earth’s surface with high accuracy.

Unfortunately, due to the launch failure, Landsat 6 never operated in space, and its scientific instruments were never able to collect data. The failure of Landsat 6 was a significant setback for the Landsat program, as it was the first time in the program’s history that a satellite failed to reach orbit.

The Landsat program continued with the launch of Landsat 7 in 1999, which successfully carried on the mission to collect high-quality Earth observation data. While the loss of Landsat 6 was a significant setback, it highlighted the inherent risks and challenges of launching and operating satellites in space. The experience also led to improvements in the launch procedures and quality control measures for future satellite missions.

Landsat 6 Satellite Characteristics

Landsat 6 was a remote sensing satellite intended to continue the Landsat program after the retirement of Landsat 5. It was designed and built by NASA, and the launch was contracted to the commercial company Orbital Sciences Corporation. However, the launch failed due to a rocket malfunction, and the satellite never reached orbit. Therefore, Landsat 6 was unable to collect any data, and its characteristics, such as sensor and resolution, were never tested in real-world applications.

Landsat 6 Examples

There are no examples of Landsat 6 imagery because the satellite failed to reach orbit and was never able to acquire any data. The launch of Landsat 6 on October 5, 1993, was unsuccessful due to a failure of the Delta II launch vehicle, and the satellite was lost.

Landsat 6 Coverage Area

As Landsat 6 never reached orbit and did not acquire any data, there is no coverage area with a name associated with this satellite.

Landsat 7

Landsat 7 is the seventh satellite launched in the Landsat program, launched on April 15, 1999, by NASA. Landsat 7 carries the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) sensor, an improved version of the TM sensor used on Landsat 4 and 5. The ETM+ sensor provides data in eight spectral bands, including a panchromatic band with a spatial resolution of 15 meters and seven multispectral bands with a spatial resolution of 30 meters. The spectral bands cover a range of wavelengths from visible light to thermal infrared, allowing for detailed analysis of the Earth’s surface features and conditions.

One of the major advances of the ETM+ sensor on Landsat 7 was the addition of the on-board calibration system, which allows for more accurate and precise data collection. The calibration system compensates for any changes or drift in the sensor’s sensitivity over time, ensuring that the data collected remains consistent and reliable. The ETM+ sensor on Landsat 7 also includes a feature called Scan Line Corrector (SLC), which corrects for any errors in the image caused by the satellite’s motion or misalignment of the scan lines.

Landsat 7 data is used in a variety of applications, including land cover mapping, vegetation monitoring, mineral exploration, and environmental assessments. One of the most significant events in the mission of Landsat 7 was the failure of the SLC in 2003, which resulted in the loss of approximately 22% of the data collected by the satellite. Despite this setback, Landsat 7 continues to collect high-quality data, and the SLC-corrected images are still being used by scientists and researchers around the world.

Landsat 7 is operated jointly by NASA and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and remains in operation to this day, making it the second-longest operating Landsat satellite in history, after Landsat 5. Its data has been instrumental in studying changes in the Earth’s environment, including climate change, urbanization, and deforestation. Landsat 7 continues to provide critical information to support land management and natural resource conservation efforts worldwide.

Landsat 7 Satellite Characteristics

Landsat 7 was a remote sensing satellite that was launched by NASA on April 15, 1999. It carried several scientific instruments on board, including the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+), which was capable of capturing images with a spatial resolution of 15 meters in the panchromatic band and 30 meters in the multispectral bands. Some of the key characteristics of Landsat 7 are:

  • Orbit: Landsat 7 was placed into a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 705 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. It completed one orbit around the Earth every 99 minutes, providing global coverage every 16 days.
  • Payload: The primary instrument on board Landsat 7 was the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+), which was designed to collect data in eight spectral bands. The ETM+ had a swath width of 185 kilometers, and its spatial resolution ranged from 15 meters to 60 meters.
  • Data Transmission: Landsat 7 was equipped with a data transmission system that allowed it to transmit data to ground stations in near real-time. It was also capable of storing up to 250 scenes on board its Solid State Recorder (SSR) before transmitting the data to the ground.
  • Operational Life: Landsat 7 was designed to have an operational life of five years, but it continued to function for more than 17 years, until May 31, 2013.

Overall, Landsat 7 was a highly capable satellite that provided high-quality remote sensing data for a wide range of applications, including land use/land cover mapping, environmental monitoring, and natural resource management. Its long operational life and high-quality data made it an invaluable tool for scientists and researchers around the world.

Landsat 7 Examples

Landsat 7 has been used for a wide range of applications, including land use/land cover mapping, vegetation monitoring, environmental monitoring, and natural resource management. Here are a few examples of Landsat 7 images:

  • Land use/land cover mapping: Landsat 7 images have been used to map land use and land cover changes over time. For example, a Landsat 7 image taken of the Pearl River Delta in China in 1999 and 2011 shows the dramatic increase in urbanization and land use change that occurred over that period.
  • Vegetation monitoring: Landsat 7 images have also been used to monitor vegetation cover and changes over time. For example, a Landsat 7 image taken of the African Sahel region in 2000 shows the vegetation recovery that occurred after a severe drought in the late 20th century.
  • Environmental monitoring: Landsat 7 images have been used to monitor environmental changes, such as coastal erosion and forest fires. For example, a Landsat 7 image taken of the Gulf of Mexico after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 shows the extent of coastal erosion and sediment deposition caused by the storm.
  • Natural resource management: Landsat 7 images have been used to support natural resource management, such as water resource monitoring and mapping of mining activity. For example, a Landsat 7 image taken of the Mount Pinatubo volcano in the Philippines in 2000 shows the extent of mining activity in the region and its impact on the environment.

Overall, Landsat 7 has provided a wealth of information for a wide range of applications, and its data continues to be valuable to researchers and decision-makers around the world.

Landsat 7 Coverage Area

Landsat 7 has a global coverage area, with its sensors capturing images of the Earth’s surface from pole to pole. Some of the notable areas covered by Landsat 7 include:

  1. Amazon rainforest, South America
  2. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
  3. Sahara Desert, Africa
  4. Himalayas, Asia
  5. Yellowstone National Park, United States
  6. Arctic Circle, Northern Hemisphere
  7. Antarctic Peninsula, Southern Hemisphere
  8. The Nile River, Egypt
  9. The Grand Canyon, United States
  10. The Great Lakes, North America

These are just a few examples of the many areas that Landsat 7 has covered. The satellite’s extensive coverage area and long history of collecting data make it a valuable resource for understanding changes on our planet over time.

Here are some examples of Landsat 7 images with their coverage area and name:

  • Mount St. Helens, United States – This Landsat 7 image shows the aftermath of the 1980 volcanic eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington state.
  • Tassili n’Ajjer, Algeria – This Landsat 7 image captures the stunning landscape of the Tassili n’Ajjer mountain range in Algeria, which is known for its rock art and prehistoric cave paintings.
  • The Aral Sea, Central Asia – This Landsat 7 image shows the dramatic shrinking of the Aral Sea in Central Asia due to water diversion for irrigation purposes.
  • The Green Swamp, United States – This Landsat 7 image shows the Green Swamp, a protected area in North Carolina known for its unique ecosystem and biodiversity.
  • The Dead Sea, Middle East – This Landsat 7 image shows the iconic salt formations and receding shorelines of the Dead Sea, which is located between Jordan and Israel.

These are just a few examples of the many areas that Landsat 7 has imaged. The satellite’s data has been used for a wide range of applications, including environmental monitoring, land use/land cover mapping, and natural resource management.

Landsat 8

Landsat 8 is the eighth satellite launched in the Landsat program, launched on February 11, 2013, by NASA. It carries the Operational Land Imager (OLI) and the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) instruments, which together provide high-quality data for a range of Earth observation applications.

The OLI sensor collects data in nine spectral bands, including the visible, near-infrared, and shortwave infrared portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. The spectral bands cover a range of wavelengths from 435 to 2300 nanometers, allowing for detailed analysis of the Earth’s surface features and conditions. The OLI sensor provides a spatial resolution of 30 meters for most bands and a spatial resolution of 15 meters for the panchromatic band. It also has two new spectral bands: one to detect cirrus clouds and another to better observe coastal and inland waterways.

The TIRS instrument collects data in two thermal infrared spectral bands, allowing for precise measurements of the temperature of the Earth’s surface. The TIRS sensor provides a spatial resolution of 100 meters, which is less detailed than the OLI sensor, but still provides valuable information for monitoring the Earth’s environment.

Like Landsat 7, Landsat 8 also has an on-board calibration system that ensures the accuracy and precision of the data collected over time. The Landsat 8 data is used in a variety of applications, including land cover mapping, vegetation monitoring, mineral exploration, and environmental assessments.

Landsat 8 is operated jointly by NASA and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and remains in operation to this day. Its data has been instrumental in studying changes in the Earth’s environment, including climate change, urbanization, and deforestation. The Landsat 8 data is freely available to the public, making it an invaluable resource for scientists, researchers, and decision-makers worldwide.

Landsat 8 Satellite Characteristics

Landsat 8 is a remote sensing satellite operated by NASA and the US Geological Survey (USGS). Here are some of the key characteristics of Landsat 8:

  • Orbit: Landsat 8 orbits the Earth in a sun-synchronous polar orbit at an altitude of about 705 km (438 miles). It completes one orbit every 99 minutes and passes over each point on the Earth’s surface once every 16 days.
  • Sensors: Landsat 8 is equipped with two main sensors: the Operational Land Imager (OLI) and the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS). The OLI captures images in nine spectral bands, ranging from visible to shortwave infrared, with a spatial resolution of 30 meters. The TIRS measures thermal infrared radiation in two bands, with a spatial resolution of 100 meters.
  • Data products: Landsat 8 data is available in several different formats, including Level-0, Level-1, and Level-2 products. Level-0 data is raw, unprocessed data straight from the satellite, while Level-1 data has been corrected for atmospheric effects and other distortions. Level-2 data is georeferenced and includes additional information such as land surface temperature and vegetation indices.
  • Applications: Landsat 8 data has a wide range of applications, including monitoring land cover and land use change, detecting forest fires and other natural disasters, mapping urban growth and infrastructure development, and monitoring the health of agricultural crops and natural ecosystems.
  • Mission duration: Landsat 8 was launched on February 11, 2013, and is still in operation as of 2023. The satellite was originally designed for a 5-year mission but has exceeded its expected lifespan and continues to provide valuable data for scientific research and practical applications.

Landsat 8 Examples

Landsat 8 has been used to capture images of many different regions around the world, for a wide range of applications. Here are a few examples:

  • Amazon Rainforest: Landsat 8 has been used to monitor deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth. The satellite’s images have been used to track changes in forest cover over time, identify areas of illegal logging, and support conservation efforts.
  • Great Barrier Reef: Landsat 8 has also been used to study the health of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the world’s largest coral reef system. The satellite’s images have been used to monitor coral bleaching events, which occur when ocean temperatures rise and can cause widespread damage to the reef ecosystem.
  • California Wildfires: Landsat 8 has been used to monitor wildfires in California, which have become more frequent and severe in recent years due to climate change. The satellite’s images have been used to track the spread of fires and support emergency response efforts.
  • Mount Everest: Landsat 8 has captured stunning images of Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak. The satellite’s images have been used to study glacial retreat in the Himalayas and monitor changes in the surrounding landscape.
  • Agricultural Fields: Landsat 8 has been used to monitor agricultural fields around the world, providing valuable information about crop health, yield, and water use. The satellite’s images have been used to support precision agriculture techniques, which can help farmers optimize their use of resources and increase crop productivity.

Landsat 8 Coverage Area

Landsat 8 has a global coverage area and has been used to capture images of many different regions around the world. However, here are some specific examples of areas that have been imaged by Landsat 8:

  • United States: Landsat 8 has captured images of many regions of the United States, including major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, as well as natural features like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park.
  • Brazil: Landsat 8 has captured images of the Amazon rainforest and other regions of Brazil, which has been useful for monitoring deforestation, agricultural activities, and other land use changes.
  • Australia: Landsat 8 has captured images of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, as well as other regions of the country, including the Outback and major cities like Sydney and Melbourne.
  • Antarctica: Landsat 8 has captured images of Antarctica, which has been useful for monitoring changes in the continent’s ice sheet and studying the effects of climate change.
  • Africa: Landsat 8 has captured images of many regions of Africa, including the Sahara Desert, the Serengeti, and major cities like Cairo and Johannesburg. These images have been useful for studying land use changes, monitoring natural resources, and supporting conservation efforts.

Landsat 9

Landsat 9 is the latest satellite in the Landsat program, which was launched on September 27, 2021. It is a joint project between the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and NASA, and it continues the mission of its predecessors to provide high-quality, multispectral images of the Earth’s surface.

Landsat 9 carries two sensors: the Operational Land Imager 2 (OLI-2) and the Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 (TIRS-2). These sensors capture images of the Earth in various wavelengths of light, allowing researchers to study changes in the planet’s land use, natural resources, and environmental conditions.

One of the major improvements of Landsat 9 is the addition of a new sensor, TIRS-2, which captures thermal infrared data. This allows researchers to better study temperature changes and to more accurately map fires, volcanoes, and other thermal events. Landsat 9 also has an improved data downlink system, which allows for faster and more efficient transfer of data from the satellite to ground stations.

Landsat 9 Satellite Characteristics

Landsat 9 is an Earth observation satellite and carries two instruments: the Operational Land Imager 2 (OLI-2) and the Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 (TIRS-2). Here are some key characteristics of Landsat 9:

  • Launch date: September 27, 2021
  • Launch vehicle: United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket
  • Orbit altitude: 438 miles (705 kilometers)
  • Orbit inclination: 98 degrees
  • Orbit period: 99 minutes
  • Repeat cycle: 16 days
  • Data downlink rate: Up to 600 megabits per second
  • Design life: 5 years, with enough fuel to operate up to 10 years
  • Mass: 4,704 pounds (2,135 kilograms)
  • Power: Solar panels generating up to 4.3 kilowatts of power

The OLI-2 sensor has 9 spectral bands ranging from the visible to the shortwave infrared (SWIR), with a spatial resolution of 30 meters for most bands. The TIRS-2 sensor has 2 spectral bands in the thermal infrared range, with a spatial resolution of 100 meters. Together, the sensors provide high-quality multispectral data that can be used to monitor changes in the Earth’s natural resources, land use, and environmental conditions.

Landsat 9 Coverage Area

Landsat 9 has a global coverage area and will image the entire Earth’s surface every 16 days. The satellite orbits the Earth in a sun-synchronous orbit, which means that it passes over each point on the Earth’s surface at the same local solar time during each orbit. The Landsat program provides free and open access to its data archive, and users can search and download Landsat 9 data through the USGS Earth Explorer or other data portals. The data can be used for a wide range of applications, such as monitoring land use changes, tracking deforestation, mapping natural resources, and assessing the impacts of natural disasters.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Landsat series of Earth observation satellites have been invaluable in helping us better understand the Earth’s natural resources and the changes occurring on its surface. Since the launch of the first satellite in 1972, the Landsat program has continued to provide high-quality, multispectral images that have been used in a wide range of scientific and commercial applications. The program is jointly operated by the USGS and NASA, and new Landsat satellites are still being launched today to ensure that this valuable data continues to be available for years to come.

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