The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Department of Interior United States Geological Survey (USGS) are developing the successor mission to Landsat 7 that is currently known as the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM). NASA is responsible for building and launching the LDCM satellite observatory. USGS is building the ground system and will assume responsibility for satellite operations and for collecting, archiving, and distributing data following launch. The observatory will consist of a spacecraft in low-Earth orbit with a two-sensor payload. One sensor, the Operational Land Imager (OLI), will collect image data for nine shortwave spectral bands over a 185 km swath with a 30 m spatial resolution for all bands except a 15 m panchromatic band. The other instrument, the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS), will collect image data for two thermal bands with a 100 m resolution over a 185 km swath. Both sensors offer technical advancements over earlier Landsat instruments. OLI and TIRS will coincidently collect data and the observatory will transmit the data to the ground system where it will be archived, processed to Level 1 data products containing well calibrated and co-registered OLI and TIRS data, and made available for free distribution to the general public. The LDCM development is on schedule for a December 2012 launch. The USGS intends to rename the satellite "Landsat 8" following launch. By either name a successful mission will fulfill a mandate for Landsat data continuity. The mission will extend the almost 40-year Landsat data archive with images sufficiently consistent with data from the earlier missions to allow long-term studies of regional and global land cover change.