10 August 2001
Landsat 5 to Continue
Reston VA. July 3, 2001.
The U.S. Department of the Interior�s U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), operator of the Landsat 7 earth-observing satellite launched by NASA in 1999, announced today that Landsat 5, launched in 1984 and recently scheduled for decommissioning, will continue to acquire images for at least several more months.
Many Landsat data users contacted the USGS to register their concerns about the loss of back-up capability for Landsat 7 and the loss of eight-day imaging opportunities. Landsat 7 passes over a given spot on the earth�s surface every 16 days in an orbit that is offset eight days by Landsat 5, thus doubling chances to obtain critical cloud-free images of forest clear-cuts or fires, agricultural crops, floods, tornado swaths, urban sprawl, coastal erosion, etc.
With the U.S. Department of Agriculture leading the effort, several large preliminary orders for Landsat 5 data were recently directed to the USGS from Federal agencies that rely heavily on Landsat data. This enabled the USGS to fund continued satellite flight operations through much of the northern hemisphere�s remaining growing season.
Data users now have no restrictions on the use or redistribution of Landsat 5 products, as commercial marketing rights to current and historical Landsat data expired on July 1. Inquiries and orders can be entered at http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/.