Landsat Missions

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Landsat Update - Volume 7 Issue 1 2013

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Landsat Update - Volume 7 Issue 1 2013

Countdown to LDCM Launch: 13 Days (February 11, 2013)

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Landsat Mission News

Landsat 5 Decommissioning Plans
After 29 years of continually collecting data, the Landsat 5 satellite is being decommissioned. The USGS Flight Operations Team started the process required to safely lower Landsat 5 from its operational orbit.

Landsat 5 has recorded the impact of natural hazards, climate variability and change, land use practices, development and urbanization, ecosystem evolution, increasing demand for water and energy resources, and changing agricultural requirements worldwide.

Since 2008, when the USGS made the Landsat archive accessible to on-line users at no cost, nearly 10 million images, each covering over 12,000 square miles, have been downloaded in 190 countries.

Landsat 5 Tribute Page
Normal operations for the Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM) ceased in November 2011. After failing to recover the electronics that led to its suspension, acquisitions were initiated with the Multi-Spectral Scanner (MSS). With continued issues onboard this aging spacecraft, Dr. Marcia McNutt, Director of the USGS, determined it was time to decommission this workhorse of the Landsat program.

After the TM was suspended in November 2011, the Landsat Project received numerous comments relating to the importance and value of Landsat 5. The satellite has, after all, documented nearly every major event since March 1984. Landsat 5 has documented droughts, floods, volcanic eruptions, the clearing of rainforests, the greening of agricultural fields, and the influence of a human population that grew from less than 5 billion to over 7 billion.

What do you think is the most significant contribution from Landsat 5? Do you have a favorite image or a favorite set of images? Please share your thoughts!

Landsat 7 Status
Landsat 7 continues to collect 250 scenes per day, over the land masses of the world. The SLC-off anomaly, which started in 2003, has not stopped the satellite from acquiring high-quality continuous imagery useful for emergency operations, urban growth studies, deforestation and ecological exploration.

LDCM Launch Readiness
The NASA and USGS teams have successfully completed the Flight Operations Review and Operations Readiness Review for the LDCM satellite. All plans are continuing for a February 11, 2013 launch, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Launch time is scheduled for 10:02 a.m. Pacific Standard Time and can be viewed on NASA TV stations.

LDCM Spacecraft Attached to Payload Adapter
With its February 11 launch date approaching, NASA's [and USGS's] Landsat Data Continuity Mission spacecraft, or LDCM, was attached to its payload adapter on January 17 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The adapter serves as the satellite's interface with the United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle. Encapsulation of the spacecraft into the payload fairing is scheduled for next week on Jan. 23. The payload will then be transported to the pad at Space Launch Complex 3 and hoisted atop the rocket.

LDCM Observatory positioned on its processing cart
LDCM Observatory positioned on its processing cart in the
high bay at ASO. Credit - Daniel Liberotti-USAF 30SW.jpg

LDCM Spacecraft in Payload Fairing
KSC-2013-1158 (01/23/2013) --- VANDENBERG AFB, Calif. -- Technicians encapsulate the NASA's Landsat Data Continuity Mission, or LDCM, satellite in its payload fairing at the Astrotech processing facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.



Recent Headlines from USGS Landsat Website

January 17, 2013 - Web-Enabled Landsat Data (WELD)
The 2012 Web-Enabled Landsat Data (WELD) GeoTIFF data products are now available.

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.

Landsat Product Information

Phasing Out Historical Landsat Metadata
Historical Landsat Metadata will be pulled from .mtl files in the next few months. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about migrating to the new fields. The New Metadata fields align all Landsat data (from Landsat 1 through LDCM). 

Landsat Surface Reflectance Products
The Surface Reflectance data are one of a number of higher-level Landsat data products being created to support land surface change studies. More details about the Landsat Surface Reflectance climate data record (CDR) are available.

Tips and Tricks

Band passes of the OLI and TIRS Instruments
The graphic below displays the band passes for LDCM's Operational Land Imager (OLI) and Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) instruments. This can be compared to Landsat, ASTER, and MODIS response functions by using the Spectral Viewer.

Wavelengths of Landsat 7 and Landsat Bands

Landsat Image of Interest

Contemporary U.S. Society's Energy Needs
Contemporary U.S. society's energy needs are mostly met with various hydrocarbons; petroleum, coal, and natural gas. The latter fuel is found in many locations across the country but still has geographic concentrations where extraction is possible. The drill pads represented in this Land Cover Trends sample block comprise more than half of the Vernon gas field, located in northern Louisiana. Early exploration of this area was from the late 1960s to the 1980s. Petroleum reserve potential was high, but the technology was not yet developed for hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

Fracking in a well increases production of petroleum by fracturing reservoir rock close to the wellbore, thereby increasing permeability and flow of oil and gas to the well. The same location in northern Louisiana, August 2010 image show wells closely spaced in reservoirs to more efficiently extract and produce oil and gas.

Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) image from August 30, 2000, shows a few natural gas well pads and some larger clear cuts of forest.

Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+)
image from August 30, 2000, shows a
few natural gas well pads and some larger
clear cuts of forest.


Thematic Mapper (TM) image from August 2, 2010 shows newer natural gas well pads.

Thematic Mapper (TM) image from
August 2, 2010 shows newer natural gas
well pads.




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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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