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Landsat Missions

Landsat and LDCM Headlines 2013

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triangle down November 20, 2013 – New Ground Control Available Soon for Select Path/Rows

New Ground Control Points (GCPs) will become available for a number of WRS-1 and WRS-2 path/rows on December 5, 2013. This will affect Landsat Multispectral Scanner (MSS), Thematic Mapper (TM), and Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) data.

Because these GCPs are significantly more accurate than previous versions, users should consider replacing images downloaded before December 5, 2013. It is recommended that previously downloaded images for these paths/rows be re-ordered to employ the new GCPs, as scenes once created as a systematic L1G product may now process to a precision L1T product.

Images downloaded after December 5, 2013 for these path rows will use improved GCPs:

WRS-1 - MSS WRS-2 - TM, ETM+ Location
162/29-30, 163/30,164/30 151/30 Kazakhstan/Kyrgyzstan
148/40-41, 149/41 138/41 Bhutan
184/43, 185/42-43, 186/43 172/43 Red Sea

Any questions about the new GCPs can be directed to

triangle down November 15, 2013 – Changes in World’s Forests Portrayed Using Landsat 7 Data

A new study discussing the importance of forest ecosystems has been published in the November issue of Science magazine. Thomas Loveland, chief scientist at the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center in Sioux Falls, S. D., assisted in the unparalleled survey of over 650,000 Landsat 7 scenes to develop the most detailed and complete assessment of global forest dynamics available.

According to Anne Castle, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science, "Tracking changes in the world's forests is critical because forests have direct impacts on local and national economies, on climate and local weather, and on wildlife and clean water. This fresh view of recent changes in the world's forests is thorough, objective, visually compelling, and vitally important."

For more information on the Global Forest Change study:

triangle down November 14, 2013 – Landsat 8 Reprocessing Rescheduled

The previously-planned reprocessing effort of all Landsat 8 data in the USGS archive will begin in early 2014. During this time, all Landsat 8 data held in the USGS archive will be purged and reprocessed using updated calibration parameters for both OLI and TIRS data.

Details about the changes to the data are available in the November 14, 2013 Calibration Notice on

triangle down October 28, 2013 – Upcoming Landsat 8 Reprocessing

Within the upcoming weeks, all Landsat 8 data held in the USGS archive will be reprocessed using updated calibration parameters for OLI and TIRS data. During this time, all online products will be purged and the online inventory will be re-populated. Details about the changes to the data are available in the October 25, 2013 Calibration Notice on

triangle down October 17, 2013 – Landsat Data Processing Resumes

Processing has resumed for Landsat 8 and Landsat 7 data acquired from October 1, 2013 to October 17, 2013. Scenes will become available for download from EarthExplorer and GloVis as processing is completed.

triangle down September 30, 2013 – Operations Update

In the event that U.S. Federal agencies are confronted with a lapse in appropriations on October 1, 2013, the Landsat 7 and 8 satellites will continue mission essential operations. The satellites will collect and downlink data to the Landsat Ground Network (LGN) and International Cooperators. The data received by the LGN will be transmitted to the U.S. Geological Survey EROS Center for ingest, processed to Level-0R, and archived. Level-1T products will not be generated, and data access and distribution services will be suspended during this time. Once U.S. Federal agencies return to operational status, Landsat Level-1T product generation will resume, as will data access and distribution services.

triangle down September 27, 2013 – Landsat 7 Thermal Band Calibration Update

Effective October 1, 2013, the calibration of the Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) Band 6 will be updated to correct a bias error that has been present in all thermal data since the last calibration update in 2010. Vicarious calibration teams detected a bias error of 0.036 watts per square meter steradian micron  (W/(m2 sr µm)) that causes overestimation of top-of-atmosphere temperatures by approximately 0.26 Kelvin (K) at 300K. Calibration parameters within the Calibration Parameter File (CPF) have been adjusted to correct for this bias error.

All data processed by USGS/EROS from October 1, 2013 forward will be correctly calibrated within 0.4K at 300K using updated CPF coefficients. Users can correct for the bias error themselves by subtracting 0.036  W/(m2 sr µm) from the top-of-atmosphere radiance product for data products processed between January 1, 2010 and September 30, 2013.

More details about this update can be found at

triangle down September 27, 2013 – CPF update for Offset Following Safehold

On September 19, 2013 (DOY 262) at approximately 20:08 UTC, Landsat 8 experienced an unplanned transition to safe hold following an attitude control anomaly. Precision attitude control was recovered and imaging operations resumed on day of year 264 (September 21, 2013). Post-anomaly calibration checks detected a systematic change in the alignment between the OLI and TIRS sensors. No change in the OLI alignment to the spacecraft attitude control system was apparent so the shift is being attributed to the TIRS instrument.

The magnitude of the change – a pitch axis offset of approximately 30 microradians (about 0.2 TIRS pixels) – is large enough to threaten the thermal-to-reflective band registration requirements. Band registration tests confirm that the along-track TIRS-to-OLI band registration performance has been degraded since the safe hold event.

A calibration parameter file (CPF) update to the ACS_to_TIRS_Rotation_Matrix parameter was developed to correct this offset and was put into production on September 27, 2013. This update is effective from September 21, 2013, so a subdivision of the 3rd quarter CPF effective date range will be required.  The new parameters will also be used for the upcoming 4th quarter CPF unless the ongoing monitoring of TIRS-to-OLI alignment indicates that further changes are require

No direct cause for the alignment change is known but it may be related to the change in the spacecraft thermal environment during the safe hold period. If this is the case, it is possible that, over time, the alignment will drift back closer to its earlier position.

triangle down September 24, 2013 – Landsat 8 safehold update

On Saturday September 21, 2013, the Landsat 8 flight operations team successfully recovered the Landsat 8 observatory from ‘safehold’ and resumed the collection of science data at 17:07:03 GMT (11:07:03 CDT). Imaging resumed on WRS-2 Path 14 Row 247.

Investigation into the cause for the observatory going into safehold is ongoing and updates will be posted when additional information is available.

triangle down September 19, 2013 – Landsat 8 in Safehold

On September 19, 2013 at 15:38 CDT, Landsat 8 entered a ‘safehold’ condition that has suspended the collection of science data. The Landsat 8 observatory is healthy, and no issues are expected during the recovery process being executed, which will return the satellite to nominal operations. Full recovery is expected in the next few days. More information will be posted as recovery progresses. Please consult the image acquisition schedule ( to assess any potential impacts to your work.

triangle down September 16, 2013 – Notice of Landsat 8 Data Reprocessing

The Landsat project has determined that a bias correction needs to be applied to Landsat 8 thermal infrared sensor (TIRS) band 10 (10.3 - 11.3 um) data. The USGS plans to reprocess all Landsat 8 data that have been acquired to date with the updated bias in the near future. More details about data changes and the schedule will be posted on the web site within the upcoming weeks.

triangle down July 16, 2013 – Landsat 8 QA Data Tool Available

The USGS now offers a tool that accurately translates and interprets Landsat 8 OLI Quality Assessment (QA) bits, within the Landsat LDOPE Toolbelt.

Based on functionality developed by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Land Data Operational Product Evaluation (LDOPE) team at Goddard Space Flight Center, the Toolbelt can be downloaded as a zip file that contains the executables compiled for Linux 32-Bit, Linux 64-Bit, Windows 32-Bit, and Windows 64-Bit systems, accompanied by the source code and a readme file. Each command can be run directly by typing the executable name and its parameters from the tools directory. Details about the OLI QA Tool can be found at

triangle down July 8, 2013 – Old data being made newly available

As part of the Landsat Global Archive Consolidation effort, the first international Multi-Spectral Scanner (MSS) data from Canada has been added to the archive! MSS data, captured by the first Landsat missions, are often the most difficult to ingest and process, but yet can be the most valuable for studies using time series. The Canadian Centre of Remote Sensing contributed the data months ago, but the software to ingest that data successfully was just released in late June. For more information on the consolidation effort, please see:

triangle down July 1, 2013 – All Early Landsat 8 Data Available!

July 1, 2013 – All Early Landsat 8 Data Available! Nearly 10,000 Landsat 8 scenes collected by the OLI and/or TIRS sensors, including the Landsat 7 underfly images before the satellite achieved operational orbit, are available to download from EarthExplorer and GloVis. While these data meet the quality standards and have the same geometric precision as data acquired on April 11, 2013 and beyond, the geographic extents of each scene will differ. The data acquired during the Landsat 7/Landsat 8 underfly on March 29 - 30, 2013 are also available. This information can also be found on

triangle down June 12, 2013 – Landsat Data Downloads Unavailable

Landsat data downloads will be unavailable from 7:00 am to 7:30 am on Thursday, June 13, 2013.

triangle down June 5, 2013 – Final command sent to Landsat 5

For over 29 years, commands have been sent to Landsat 5 for acquisitions, orbital maneuvers, to fix problems, and even to avoid space junk. Today at 11:34 EDT, the final command was sent to Landsat 5, to turn her solar array away from the sun, essentially ending further power to the onboard computer. She is out of fuel and will reenter and burn up in Earth's atmosphere in around 21 years. Landsat 5 was certainly crotchety at times, but her longevity is now legend, and we'll miss her.

More details can be found on

triangle down May 30, 2013 – Landsat 8 Data Available!

NASA has declared that the Landsat Data Continuity Mission's on-orbit checkout is complete, and it has been renamed Landsat 8 with the hand-off of operations to the USGS! Starting at 1 pm CT on May 30, data collected by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) and the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) onboard the spacecraft will be available to download from EarthExplorer, and the LandsatLook Viewer. Data will be available on GloVis by 2 pm CT.

triangle down May 17, 2013 – Surface reflectance is now available

Surface reflectance is now available as a Landsat climate data record (CDR) product through EarthExplorer.

These products are generated on-demand from Landsat 5 TM and Landsat 7 ETM+ data and are also available for the Global Land Survey 2000, 2005, and 2010 collections.

triangle down May 16, 2013 – Ethiopian Highlands

This image of the Ethiopian Highlands (Lake Tana is in the upper right) was taken on April 19, 2013 and is but a small portion of the Long Swath visualization created by our mission partner NASA.

triangle down May 15, 2013 – Fly with LDCM!

On April 19, 2013, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission passed over one long swath from Russia to southern Africa. Our mission partners at NASA crafted a beautiful fly-over that is a must-see!

triangle down May 13, 2013 – Website Unavailable May 15, 2013

This site will be unavailable from 7:00 am to 10:00 am Central Time on Weds, May 15, 2013.

triangle down May 13, 2013 – Wildfire data available for download

Last week, NASA Earth Observatory released a change pair of Landsat Data Continuity Mission images that showed before and after the southern California wildfire. Users can now download the entire 10-band image from May 4, 2013, which is the post-fire scene.

triangle down May 9, 2013 – Landsat 8 view of southern California burn scar

Stunning before and after images of the burn scar of the southern California wildfire have been released on the NASA Earth Observatory page. These images were acquired by the newest Landsat satellite, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission.

triangle down May 1, 2013 – Landsat Data Continuity Mission on WRS-2: Sample Data Available!

Since launch, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) has been gradually making its way to operational orbit (called WRS-2) at 705 km (438 miles) above the surface of Earth. Check out this beautiful sample product of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon from April 23, 2013. The sample includes all bands.

triangle down May 1, 2013 – Landsat 5 MSS 2012-2013 Data Available

The workhorse of the Landsat 5 mission was the Thematic Mapper (TM) instrument. In November of 2011, the TM failed, and the MultiSpectral Scanner (MSS) instrument was brought back online a few months later. The MSS had not acquired data for over a decade, due to the loss of Band 4 (and the continued success of the TM). While the MSS was acquiring data, the ground station was crafting new capabilities to ingest the raw instrument data. The data have been successfully ingested and are available from EarthExplorer. It will be made available from GloVis and LandsatLook soon. More details on the new MSS data are available at

triangle down April 26, 2013 – USGS and NASA to Host Social Media Event

On May 30, 2013, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission will begin its life's work as an operational mission under the new moniker Landsat 8. Social media users that participate in Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus can register to attend an event in Sioux Falls, SD that will include an official ceremony, tours, and an evening event. Participants that are chosen to attend are responsible for their own travel costs. Registration opens at noon EDT on April 26, 2013.

triangle down April 25, 2013 – Old Metadata Format to be Removed

For over 6 months, Landsat 1-7 products have included a new metadata format to align with operational data from the Landsat Data Continuity Mission. We have been including the historic metadata format to allow users enough transition time to adjust to the new format. That file, *_OLD.txt, will be removed as of Monday, April 29, 2013.

triangle down April 23, 2013 – How do they compare? See for yourself!

In the past few weeks, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) flew underneath Landsat 7, acquiring nearly concurrent images. See how similar they are, but so different!

triangle down April 23, 2013 – Landsat Data Continuity Mission Images of the Salton Sea

Wondering what the thermal band is all about? Check out this LDCM Thermal InfraRed Sensor (TIRS) example from the Salton Sea.

triangle down April 8, 2013 – New LDCM/Landsat 8 Image Examples Available!

Greenbelt, Vandenberg, Gilbert and Sioux Falls: these four areas played important roles in the creation and implementation of the LDCM. Take a look at images of these areas, created using recently acquired LDCM/ Landsat 8 data:

triangle down March 29, 2013 – LDCM/Landsat 8 Sample Data available!

Data collected recently by the OLI and TIRS sensors aboard LDCM is available for download:

triangle down March 21, 2013 – First image from LDCM!

On March 18, 2013, the first images were taken with the Operational Land Imager (OLI) onboard the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM). Checkout of the instruments and spacecraft is proceeding well, and operational data is estimated to be available in late May, 2013.

triangle down March 11, 2013 – Network Outage

This website may become unusable from 5:00 to 8:00 pm Central time on Thursday March 14, 2013 for network upgrades. We apologize for any inconvenience.

triangle down March 8, 2013 – Landsat 7 Lifetime Calibration Update

The Calibration team has recently documented that the gains of the reflective bands have degraded over the past 14 years. On April 1, 2013, an update to the Landsat 7 processing will correct images for this degradation. All of the Landsat 7 data on the online server will be purged. Newly acquired data will be automatically processed, and users will need to request historical data for processing.

triangle down February 21, 2013 – LDCM begins on-orbit testing

While the Landsat Data Continuity Mission launch on February 11th was the conclusion of years of effort, it was also a beginning. Many components, subsystems, and instruments will be activated and tested in the 100 days that follow launch. All goes well so far! For more:

triangle down February 11, 2013 – The Launch of LDCM

The Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 10:02 a.m. PST on February 11, 2013. In about 100 days, the USGS will take control and the spacecraft, will be renamed Landsat 8, and data will be made available to all users at no charge.

See pictures of pre-launch and the launch of LDCM.

View the specifics about the LDCM launch.

Download the LDCM Brochure - .pdf (17.2 MB)

The Launch of the Next Landsat (Image of the Week February 7, 2013)

View the LDCM briefing held January 10, 2013.

LDCM poster

LDCM patch

LDCM logo


Watch one of our favorite videos about Landsat!

Watch the launch of LDCM

triangle down February 11, 2013 – Landsat 5 Sets Guinness World Record

Landsat 5 successfully set the new Guinness World Records title for 'Longest-operating Earth observation satellite’ as stated in an e-mail from Guinness World Records sent to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Outliving its three-year design life, Landsat 5 delivered high-quality, global data of Earth's land surface for 28 years and 10 months. More details about this outstanding achievement can be found at

triangle down January 17, 2013 – Web-Enabled Landsat Data (WELD)

The 2012 Web-Enabled Landsat Data (WELD) GeoTIFF data products are now available from HDF tiled data can be downloaded from

triangle down January 14, 2013 – LDCM Media Briefing Held

NASA recently held a media briefing about the upcoming launch of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM), which is scheduled to launch February 11, 2013. Watch the video!

triangle down January 9, 2013 – Watch LDCM launch prep live

LDCM now resides at Vandenberg Air Force Base, but still have steps to go to get ready for launch on February 11, 2013. Watch the progress live!

triangle down January 7, 2013 – Landsat Science Team Meeting

Landsat Science Team members presented their research objectives and plans at a meeting in Washington, DC on December 12 -13, 2012. (Read More)

triangle down January 3, 2013 – Surface Reflectance Data Available

Landsat Surface Reflectance Climate Data Records (CDR) for Global Land Survey (GLS) collections 2000, 2005, and 2010 are now available from the Landsat CDR/ECV data set on EarthExplorer.

The Surface Reflectance CDR is one of a number of higher-level Landsat data products produced to support land surface change studies. More details about Surface Reflectance CDRs can be found on

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