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Landsat Missions

Landsat and LDCM Headlines 2011

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triangle down November 23, 2011 – Dr. John Schott and his 30 years with Landsat

Since 1981, Dr. John Schott has been involved in calibration of the Landsat instruments from his home institution, Rochester Institute of Technology. He is also involved in emerging science that leverages the 40-year Landsat archive as well as working with simulated images from the next sensor, the Operational Land Imager, that will fly on the Landsat Data Continuity Mission. For more...

triangle down November 18, 2011 – Landsat 5 Mission in Jeopardy

Over the past 10 days, problems with the amplifier have led to drastically reduced image download capabilities, a sign of impending failure. USGS engineers have suspended imaging activities for an initial period of 90 days in order to explore every possible option for restoring satellite-to-ground image transmissions. For more details, please see the USGS Newsroom.

triangle down November 18, 2011 – 27 Years of Earth Images for the World

It may not be widely known that Landsat 5 is the longest operating Earth-orbiting satellite. Launched in 1984, Landsat 5 has downlinked over five million images to the USGS and international ground stations throughout the world. The archive of observations derived from the Landsat 5 provides our international community with a strong foundation of unbiased information on global land-surface features.

If you are curious about the Earth and how it has changed, Landsat 5 is for you. Questions that have been asked of the archive relate to: forests, farming, city expansion, natural disasters, coral reefs, glaciers, international borders, national parks, geology, biology, and the list goes on and on. And all these questions can be answered with an eye on change over the last 27 years – what did Atlanta, Georgia look like in 1984 compared to today? How much more land is used in Africa today for growing food than 20 years ago? Are the glaciers really receding? How has the region around Chernobyl changed? And so forth.

As Landsat 5 has aged, while continuously imaging the Earth day after day for 27 years, it has exhibited numerous problems, some predicted and others unforeseen. Landsat 5 has survived many setbacks, forcing flight engineers to switch on back-up components or find workarounds. Lots of fuel, the design and workmanship of the satellite, innovative workarounds and problem-solving, and finally, a bit of luck have all helped Landsat 5 keep working, monitoring the Earth, and providing an unparalleled archive of images for all humankind.

triangle down November 17, 2011 – Possible interruptions in Landsat 5 acquisitions.

Landsat 5 has been on orbit for more than 27 years. Over time, the USGS's Flight Operations Team has addressed numerous challenges as the spacecraft has aged.

Due to ongoing issues with the Landsat 5 transmitter, imaging may be interrupted in order to evaluate options for continued operations. Future information will be posted here. Please consider subscribing to our Mission Headlines RSS feed or following us on Twitter (@USGSLandsat).

triangle down November 9, 2011 – LDCM Launch Schedule Change

Due to changes in the launch manifest, the LDCM Launch Readiness Date has been changed from no earlier than December 1, 2012 to no earlier than January 15, 2013.

triangle down October 13, 2011 – 40th Anniversary of Landsat Missions approaching

As we look forward to the 40th Anniversary, we take an opportunity to look back at our history. This video tells a bit about the Landsat 5 story. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXHrzySlMvs

triangle down August 25, 2011 – Critical Milestone Reached for LDCM

The Operational Land Imager (OLI) has been approved by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for integration onto the LDCM spacecraft. For more information visit http://1.usa.gov/pDJfZS.

triangle down August 16-18, 2011 – Landsat Science Team Meeting

The Landsat Science Team Meeting was held at USGS EROS Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Current and future mission status reports were presented, and members provided the results of their five years of Landsat Science Team research. Read More...

triangle down June 28, 2011 – Landsat 7 was overhead

Landsat 7 was overhead on Saturday, June 25th, as the Souris River in Minot, North Dakota exceeded the 1881 flooding record by over 4 feet. For more information, see the USGS http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2840.

triangle down June 7, 2011 – USGS hosted the 20th Landsat Technical Working Group meeting.

Participants from 17 countries, including members of the USGS and NASA Landsat and Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) Projects, represented 23 U.S. and international ground stations and discussed a wide range of technical topics. Special guest, Anne Castle, U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, welcomed the attendees and provided perspective on the key role they play in current and future international land imaging cooperation.

This year's Landsat Technical Working Group (LTWG#20) meeting was held in Sioux Falls, SD, USA, May 23-27, 2011. Participants from 17 countries, including members of the USGS and NASA Landsat and Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) Projects, represented 23 U.S. and international ground stations and discussed a wide range of technical topics. Special guest, Anne Castle, U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, welcomed the attendees and provided perspective on the key role they play in current and future international land imaging cooperation.

Landsat Project presentations included Landsat 5 and Landsat 7 mission statuses, Global Land Survey status, the Landsat Global Archive Consolidation initiative, operational Data Validation & Exchange (DV&E) status, and Calibration/Validation. The Landsat Project also hosted a technical workshop on Landsat 1-5 Multi-Spectral Scanner (MSS) Data Processing current progress and future plans. LDCM presentations included Project and Ground System status including plans and timelines for LDCM Ground System processing software availability, the LDCM Space-to-International Cooperator (IC) interface, and DV&E and Ground Station Certification. A Landsat Science Team update was also presented, providing information on several key application and research projects. NASA also provided attendees with an overview of the overall LDCM mission status. Concurrent with the typical LTWG agenda, the USGS also hosted a 3-day Ground System Technical Workshop for its International Cooperator attendees. The workshop covered both Landsat and LDCM (Landsat 8) ground system technical information such as requirements, interfaces, design, and implementation details.

Each International Cooperator briefed the group on the status of their ground systems including electronic data delivery capabilities and challenges, presented their future satellite mission(s), provided an overview of their data distribution model(s), and discussed current status of their Landsat Global Archive Consolidation activities.

International Cooperators and U.S. attendees included representatives from the following countries and organizations:

group photo

triangle down June 6, 2011 – Landsat 5 captures image of Massachusetts tornado

A tornado cut a massive 39-mile swath of destruction across southwest and south-central Massachusetts on June 1. For more information, please the USGS press release: http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2821.

triangle down May 23, 2011 – Landsat Images on Display at the Library of Congress

The most recent USGS Earth as Art exhibit, the third in the series of award-winning Landsat satellite images, will be on display at the Library of Congress beginning May 31. The images will be on display for one year. http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2808

triangle down May 4, 2011 – Esri Releases ChangeMatters Viewer

On Tuesday, May 2nd 2011, Esri released the ChangeMatters viewer at the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) annual conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The ChangeMatters viewer uses Landsat Global Land Survey imagery to showcase change across the globe from the 1970s through 2005. http://www.esri.com/landsat-imagery/index.html.

triangle down April 19, 2011 – Call for Pecora Award Nominations

The William T. Pecora Award is presented annually to individuals or groups that have made outstanding contributions toward understanding the Earth by means of remote sensing. The Department of the Interior (DOI) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) jointly sponsor the award.

The William T. Pecora Award is presented annually to individuals or groups that have made outstanding contributions toward understanding the Earth by means of remote sensing. The Department of the Interior (DOI) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) jointly sponsor the award. The award was established in 1974 to honor the memory of Dr. William T. Pecora, former Director of the U.S. Geological Survey and Under Secretary, Department of the Interior. Dr. Pecora was a motivating force behind the establishment of a program for civil remote sensing of the Earth from space. His early vision and support helped establish what we know today as the Landsat satellite program.

The Award Committee must receive nominations for the 2011 award by June 1, 2011. Instructions for preparing a nomination and other information about the award can be found on the Pecora Award web site: http://remotesensing.usgs.gov/pecora.php

triangle down April 8, 2011 – The First Landsat Scientist

On March 17, 2011, the Landsat program lost one of its first champions, Stanley C. Freden. Dr. Freden was a physicist who was the first project scientist for ERTS-1 (now Landsat 1) and continued in that role through Landsat 3.

His full obituary can be found at http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/stanley-c-freden-nasa-scientist-and-early-contributor-to-landsat-dies-at-83/2011/04/05/AFrMsFrC_story.html.


Stanley C. Freden

triangle down March 24, 2011 – MSS orders held until April 1st

Starting on Friday, March 25th, MSS orders will be held so that radiometric enhancements can be implemented. MSS processing will recommence on April 1st, and notices will be sent, as typical, when scenes are completed. For more information on these enhancements, please see the L1-5 MSS Calibration page.

triangle down March 22, 2011 – Landsat Science Team Members Interview with EarthSky

Landsat Science Team members have participated in a series of interviews with EarthSky.org. Dr. Bob Bindschadler discusses the Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica, and Dr. Curtis Woodcock talks about monitoring Earth's forests. Several other interviews that discuss Landsat and the importance of its archive can be found at the site.

triangle down March 16, 2011 – Landsat 5 Update

As of March 16, 2011, Landsat 5 is acquiring data normally.

triangle down March 15, 2011 – Space News Reports on LDCM

NASA Racing To Launch Next Landsat Mission Before 2013.

triangle down March 15, 2011 – Short-term Suspension of Landsat 5 Acquisitions

On March 14, 2011, Landsat 5 experienced a minor anomaly. The spacecraft is currently operating normally, but it will take a few days to return the instrument to a nominal temperature. Data is expected to be available at the end of the week.

triangle down March 13, 2011 – Pending MSS and L4 TM Calibration Release

In the upcoming weeks, the Landsat Project will incorporate new radiometric enhancements for all Multi-Spectral Scanner (MSS) and Landsat 4 Thematic Mapper (TM) thermal data. A notice will be posted when the new calibrations are released in early April. At that time, all processed MSS and Landsat 4 TM data will be purged from the servers in order to ensure that all future MSS and L4 TM data have the new calibrations applied.

triangle down March 9, 2011 – LandsatLook Images

LandsatLook images are full-resolution .jpeg files that are included as options when downloading Landsat data from EarthExplorer or Glovis. Three products are available, and are useful for image selection and visual interpretation. Read More...

triangle down January 28, 2011 – Terralook Software Released

TerraLook software Version 2.0 beta has been released, complete with a new user interface and improved usability.

This simple and intuitive open-source software supports a variety of image processing and GIS capabilities, and works particularly well with the TerraLook images available from USGS EROS. The software can be downloaded from the Terralook website: http://terralook.cr.usgs.gov/

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