Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Landsat 5 sets Guinness world record for 'longest operating Earth observation satellite'

Date:
February 12, 2013
Source:
NASA
Summary:
Landsat 5 successfully set the new Guinness World Records title for 'Longest-operating Earth observation satellite' as stated in an e-mail from Guinness World Records sent to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Outliving its three-year design life, Landsat 5 delivered high-quality, global data of Earth's land surface for 28 years and 10 months.

This image shows the Columbia Glacier in Alaska one of many vanishing around the world. Glacier retreat is one of the most direct and understandable effects of climate change.
Credit: NASA/USGS

Landsat 5 successfully set the new Guinness World Records title for 'Longest-operating Earth observation satellite' as stated in an e-mail from Guinness World Records sent to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Outliving its three-year design life, Landsat 5 delivered high-quality, global data of Earth's land surface for 28 years and 10 months.

NASA launched Landsat 5 from Vandenberg Air Force base in Lompoc, Calif. on March 1, 1984. Landsat 5 was designed and built at the same time as Landsat 4 and carried the same two instruments: the Multispectral Scanner System (MSS) and the Thematic Mapper (TM).

Managed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as part of the Landsat Program, it completed over 150,000 orbits and sent back more than 2.5 million images of Earth's surface. On Dec. 21, 2012 the USGS announced Landsat 5 would be decommissioned in the coming months after the failure of a redundant gyroscope. The satellite carries three gyroscopes for attitude control and needs two to maintain control.

"This is the end of an era for a remarkable satellite, and the fact that it flew for almost three decades is a testament to the NASA engineers who launched it and the USGS team who kept it flying well beyond its expected lifetime," said Anne Castle, Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science in a press release.

Originally designed to be retrievable by the space shuttle, Landsat 5 was equipped with extra fuel. That extra fuel kept the satellite operating for much longer than anticipated after the space shuttle retrieval plan was thrown out.

Space is a harsh environment, and Landsat 5 faced more than twenty technical issues throughout its lifetime as parts gave in to wear and age. Landsat 5's USGS Flight Operations team found engineering and operational fixes to work around the problems, which included losing batteries, star trackers, and on-board data recording capability.

"The efforts of the Landsat team were heroic. Landsat 5 could not have lasted so long without the dedication and devotion of the USGS flight operations team that overcame a number of difficult technical challenges over the last 12 years," said Jim Irons, LDCM project scientist.

Not only did they keep the satellite going, said Irons, but in doing so, "Landsat 5 saved the Landsat program. This satellite's longevity preserved the Landsat program through the loss of Landsat 6 in 1993, preventing the specter of a data gap before the launch of Landsat 7 in 1999."

Today, the Landsat program continues to provide data used across the United States and the world for agricultural and forest monitoring and water resource management, among many other environmental applications.

NASA is launching its next successor to the still operational Landsat 7 satellite, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) on Feb. 11, 2013. LDCM carries two new instruments, the Operational Land Imager and the Thermal Infrared Sensor, which will collect data that are compatible with data from Landsat 5 and 7, and improve upon it with advanced instrument designs that are more sensitive to changes to the land surface, said Irons.

LDCM will continue the Landsat program's 40-year data record of monitoring Earth from space. Once the LDCM satellite is extensively tested and certified for its mission, it will be renamed Landsat 8 and be operated by the U.S. Geological Survey.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA. "Landsat 5 sets Guinness world record for 'longest operating Earth observation satellite'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130212140715.htm>.
NASA. (2013, February 12). Landsat 5 sets Guinness world record for 'longest operating Earth observation satellite'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130212140715.htm
NASA. "Landsat 5 sets Guinness world record for 'longest operating Earth observation satellite'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130212140715.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 15, 2014) Pennsylvania-based Schramm is incorporating modern technology in its next generation oil-drigging rigs, making them smaller, safer and smarter. Ernest Scheyder reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dutch Highway Introduces Glow-In-The-Dark Paint

Dutch Highway Introduces Glow-In-The-Dark Paint

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) A Dutch highway has become the first lit by glow-in-the-dark paint — a project aimed at reducing street light use. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins