Landsat 9: Empowering open science and applications through continuity

Remote Sensing of Environment
By: , and 



The history of Earth observation from space is well reflected through the Landsat program. With data collection beginning with Landsat-1 in 1972, the program has evolved technical capabilities while maintaining continuity of land observations. In so doing, Landsat has provided a critical reference for assessing long-term changes to Earth's land environment due to both natural and human forcing. Poised for launch in mid-2021, the joint NASA-USGS Landsat 9 mission will continue this important data record. In many respects Landsat 9 is a clone of Landsat-8. The Operational Land Imager-2 (OLI-2) is largely identical to Landsat 8 OLI, providing calibrated imagery covering the solar reflected wavelengths. The Thermal Infrared Sensor-2 (TIRS-2) improves upon Landsat 8 TIRS, addressing known issues including stray light incursion and a malfunction of the instrument scene select mirror. In addition, Landsat 9 adds redundancy to TIRS-2, thus upgrading the instrument to a 5-year design life commensurate with other elements of the mission. Initial performance testing of OLI-2 and TIRS-2 indicate that the instruments are of excellent quality and expected to match or improve on Landsat 8 data quality. Landsat-9 will maintain the current data acquisition rate of up to 740 scenes per day, with these scenes available from the Landsat archive at no cost to users. In this communication, we provide background and rationale for the Landsat 9 mission, describe the instrument payloads and ground system, and discuss data products available from the Landsat 9 mission through USGS.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Landsat 9: Empowering open science and applications through continuity
Series title Remote Sensing of Environment
DOI 10.1016/j.rse.2020.111968
Volume 248
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 111968, 13 p.
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