picture of the encyclopedia
previous next
Version 0.81 comes with a new web design! Please allow popups for navigation.

Program: Landsat

Also called ERTS (Earth Resources Technology Satellites)

The idea of a civil Earth observation program came in 1962 but the first Landsat was launched only 10 years after because of political and technical choices. In fact alot of technology was classified and could be used for civil purposes. Agencies like the Geological Survey had to put pressure to make the program start. The sensibility of the resolution was longly discussed (efficient but not too efficient!).
In 1984 the Congress gave EOSAT (Earth Observation SATellite corporation) the right to commercialize the pictures but it didn't make Landsat self financed.

Landsat 1 series

Made of Landsat 1, 2 & 3. Descending node at 09:30 and 18 days orbital cycle

Based on the Nimbus platform. Were equipped with the RBV (Return Beam Vidicon) TV camera and the MSS (MultiSpectral Scanner) radiometer. Such a camera had been used by the lunar observation program Ranger. The satellites transmit their data in real time to Eath stations when they are available otherwise the data is recorded on-board.

Has the same MSS as Landsat 4 & 5

Landsat 2 series

Made of Landsat 4 & 5. Descending node at 09:37 and 16 days orbital cycle

The data is transmitted by the TDRS network.


Landsat 3 series

Made of Landsat 6 & 7. 16 days orbital cycle


Next Landsat planned for launch in 2011. Will carry the OLI instrument: 15-meter panchromatic and 30-m multi-spectral Earth-imaging spatial-resolution capability. OLI includes a 185-km swath allowing the entire globe to be imaged every 16 days.

External resources



© TBS Internet, all rights reserved. All reproduction, copy or mirroring prohibited. Legal notice
francais anglais contact