Since November 2000, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) mission has demonstrated the capabilities of a dozen spacecraft sensor and communication innovations. Onboard the EO-1 spacecraft are two land remote sensing instruments. The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) acquires data in spectral bands and at resolutions similar to Landsat. The Hyperion instrument, which is the first civilian spaceborne hyperspectral imager, acquires data in 220 10-nanometer bands covering the visible, near, and shortwave-infrared bands. The initial one-year technology demonstration phase of the mission included a detailed comparison of ALI with the Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) instrument. Specifications for the Operational Land Imager (OLI), the planned successor to ETM+, were formulated in part from performance characteristics of ALI.
Recognizing the remarkable performance of the satellite's instruments and the exceptional value of the data, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and NASA agreed in December 2001 to share responsibility for operating EO-1. The extended mission continues, on a cost-reimbursable basis, as long as customer sales fully recover flight and ground operations costs. As of May 2005, more than 17,800 scenes from each instrument have been acquired, indexed, archived, and made available to the public.