Landsat Missions

Landsat 3 History

March 5, 1978 - September 7, 1983
(Placed in standby mode March 31, 1983)


Figure 1. Landsat 3

Participants

  • NASA
  • Department of the Interior (DOI) U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
  • Manufacturer: General Electric (GE) Astrospace
     

Launch

  • Date: March 5, 1978
  • Vehicle: Delta 2910
  • Launched by: NASA
  • Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
     

Spacecraft

  • Weight: approximately 953 kg (2,100 lbs)
  • Overall height: 3 m (10 ft)
  • Diameter: 1.5 m (5 ft)
  • Solar array paddles extend out to a total of 4 m (13 ft)
  • 3-axis stabilized using 4 wheels to +/-0.7° attitude control
  • Twin solar array paddles (single-axis articulation)
  • S-Band and Very High Frequency (VHF) communications
  • Hydrazine propulsion system with 3 thrusters
     

Communications

  • Direct downlink from 2, 30 minute wide-band video tape recorders
  • Data rate: 15 Mbps
  • Quantization: 6 bit (64 levels)
     

Orbit

  • Worldwide Reference System-1 (WRS-1) path/row system
  • Sun-synchronous, near-polar orbit at an altitude of 917 km (570 mi)
  • Inclined at 99.1°
  • Circled the Earth every 103 minutes
  • Completed 14 orbits a day
  • Repeat cycle: 18 days
  • Swath width: 185 km (115 mi)
  • Equatorial crossing time: 9:30 a.m. +/- 15 minutes
  • Swath overlap (or sidelap) varied from 14 percent at the Equator to a maximum of approximately 85 percent at 81° north or south latitude
     

Sensors

Return Beam Vidicon (RBV)

  • The RBV system on Landsat 3 used two cameras, mounted side-by-side, with panchromatic spectral response and higher spatial resolution (40 m) to complement the multispectral coverage provided by the Multispectral Scanner (MSS). Each of the cameras produced a swath of about 90 km (for a total swath of 180 km).
  • 40 m resolution from 2, 80 m resolution cameras
  • Two cameras with a panchromatic spectral response
  • Data: 3.5 MHz video
     

Multispectral Scanner (MSS)

  • Five spectral bands, including a thermal band:
    • Band 4 Visible (0.5 to 0.6 µm)
    • Band 5 Visible (0.6 to 0.7 µm)
    • Band 6 Near-Infrared (0.7 to 0.8 µm)
    • Band 7 Near-Infrared (0.8 to 1.1 µm)
    • Band 8 Thermal (10.4 to 12.6 µm)
  • Data: 100 kHz digital
  • Six detectors for each reflective band provided six scan lines on each active scan
  • Ground Sampling Interval (pixel size): 57 x 79 m
     

Other Characteristics

  • Scene size: 170 km x 185 km (106 mi x 115 mi)
  • Originally designated Landsat 3; also known as Landsat C
  • Design Life: Minimum of 1 year

 

Landsat 1 Landsat 2 Landsat 3 Landsat 4 Landsat 5 Landsat 6 Landsat 7 Landsat 8

About

Landsat represents the world's longest continuously acquired collection of space-based moderate-resolution land remote sensing data. Four decades of imagery provides a unique resource for those who work in agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education, mapping, and global change research. Landsat images are also invaluable for emergency response and disaster relief.

 

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