Conceived in the 1960s, the Landsat program has experienced six successful missions that have contributed to an unprecedented 39-year record of Earth Observations that capture global land conditions and dynamics. Incremental improvements in imaging capabilities continue to improve the quality of Landsat science data, while ensuring continuity over the full instrument record. Landsats 5 and 7 are still collecting imagery. The planned launch of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission in December 2012 potentially extends the Landsat record to nearly 50 years. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat archive contains nearly three million Landsat images. All USGS Landsat data are available at no cost via the Internet. The USGS is committed to improving the content of the historical Landsat archive though the consolidation of Landsat data held in international archives. In addition, the USGS is working on a strategy to develop higher-level Landsat geo- and biophysical datasets. Finally, Federal efforts are underway to transition Landsat into a sustained operational program within the Department of the Interior and to authorize the development of the next two satellites — Landsats 9 and 10.
Additional publication details
Landsat: building a strong future
Remote Sensing of Environment
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center