Landsat Missions

Landsat 8 Long Term Acquisition Plan (LTAP-8)

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Landsat 8 currently acquires up to 725 images per day — up from the 550 images per day acquired in 2013.

Priorities assigned to each scene and special request help distribute the acquisitions.

  1. All descending day-lit land images between 57° North (row 21) and 57° South (row 104) Latitudes where the side lap between paths is less than 50%
  2. Over 90% of the descending day-lit land images beyond 57° with decreasing priority inversely proportional to the amount of side lap between paths
  3. Over x% of open water scenes, such as the Mediterranean Sea, Baltic Sea, Caribbean Sea, that complete land intervals and reefs
  4. Night, most ocean, and ascending scenes are only acquired by special request. The success rate is a function of priority and cloud cover thresholds assigned.

Day-lit images are defined as images with sun elevations greater than five degrees. If fewer than 725 images per day exist, all candidates can be scheduled. If more than 725 candidate scenes exist, then images are excluded as a function of cloud cover prediction and long term cloud cover statistics. If the cloud cover prediction is better than the long-term average then the priority is increased. If an acquisition is rejected, a missed opportunity boost will take effect to increase the probability of future acquisitions.

The map below shows the priorities of Landsat 8 scenes as of 6 May 2015. The lower priority scenes are more likely to be rejected to meet the daily limit, while the highest priority scenes are only rejected for maneuvers or rare calibration events.

Distribution map of Landsat 8 Acquisition priorities

Figure 1. Distribution map of Landsat 8 Acquisition priorities


The graph below represents the distribution of candidate scenes through the year, if no special requests are scheduled. The orange region represents scenes that do not meet the day-lit criteria. The line is the 725 daily limit. The green region represents the scenes that are scheduled. The red region represents the scenes that are rejected due to the daily limit. The region between the green region and the gray line is the margin available for scheduling special requests that do not cause LTAP scenes to be rejected.

Annual distribution graph of Landsat 8 candidate scenes
Figure 2. Annual distribution graph of Landsat 8 candidate scenes





Landsat represents the world's longest continuously acquired collection of space-based moderate-resolution land remote sensing data. Four decades of imagery provides a unique resource for those who work in agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education, mapping, and global change research. Landsat images are also invaluable for emergency response and disaster relief.


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