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Landsat Calibration and Validation

The USGS ECCOE Landsat Cal/Val Team, along with their NASA counterparts, maintains primary responsibility for radiometric and geometric characterization and the calibration and validation of the Landsat instruments and spacecrafts. This work includes both the ongoing operations of active Landsat missions, as well as the retired Landsat missions. 

Rendering of Landsat 9
A rendering of the Landsat 9 spacecraft.

The USGS/NASA Landsat Cal/Val Team supports Landsat Missions with preflight instrument and spacecraft characterization and calibration. The latest calibration and validation efforts have been focused on the instruments and data acquired by the Landsat 9 Operational Land Imager (OLI) and Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) instruments. Landsat 9 was launched on September 27, 2021, and Level-1 data became available on February 11, 2022. 

Landsat 9 improvements include reduced stray-light in TIRS and an increased dynamic range bit-depth with OLI. Advances in pre-launch characterization gave a better understanding of the geometric, radiometric, spatial, spectral, etc. quality of both instruments. Activities during the commissioning period combined the pre-launch knowledge with the on-board calibration system responses and the latest vicarious calibration methods to ensure Landsat 9 OLI and TIRS were performing at or above the required levels while fitting seamlessly into the existing Landsat archive.

Visit the Landsat Missions Landsat Calibration & Validation web page for more details on the work done by ECCOE to support the Landsat.


Remote Sensing Special Issue: Landsat 9 Pre-launch, Commissioning, and Early On-Orbit Imaging Performance 

A new Remote Sensing Special Issue provides information on the calibration and validation activities performed that ensure the gold standard of geometric, radiometric, spatial, and spectral resolutions are upheld, and lead to known and expected superior Landsat 9 data quality. Topics cover pre-launch characterization, testing, commissioning, and early on-orbit performance for the OLI and TIRS instrument and Landsat 9 spacecraft. Visit the Remote Sensing webpage to view the published papers within this issue.


ECCOE Landsat Quarterly Calibration and Validation Reports

The ECCOE Landsat Cal/Val Team continually monitors the geometric and radiometric performance of active Landsat missions and makes calibration adjustments as needed to maintain data quality at the highest level. Results of the analysis are summarized in USGS Open File Reports that will be published quarterly and posted here below.