Landsat Missions

What are the orbit paths of the Landsat satellites?

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Question:

What are the orbit paths of the Landsat satellites?

Answer:

The Landsat 8 and Landsat 7 satellites both maintain a near-polar, sun-synchronous orbit, following the World Reference System (WRS-2). They each make an orbit in about 99 minutes, complete over 14 orbits per day, and provide complete coverage of the Earth every 16 days. There is an 8-day offset between the two satellites.

The descending (daytime) node from north to south crosses the equator between 10:00 am and 10:15 am (local time) on each pass to provide maximum illumination with minimum water vapor (haze and cloud build-up).

Chapter 5 of the Landsat 7 Science Data Users Handbook and the Landsat 8 Science Data Users Handbook provides further details on the orbit of the satellites.

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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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