What are the acquisition schedules for the Landsat satellites?

The Landsat 7 and Landsat 8 satellites orbit the Earth at an altitude of 705 kilometers (438 miles) in a 185-kilometer (115-mile) swath, moving from north to south over the sunlit side of the Earth in a sun synchronous orbit, following the World Reference System (WRS-2). Each satellite makes a complete orbit every 99 minutes, completes about 14 full orbits each day, and crosses every point on Earth once every 16 days.

The satellite orbits are offset to allow 8-day repeat coverage of any Landsat scene area on the globe. Between the two satellites, more than 1,500 scenes are added to the USGS archive each day.

Traveling on the descending (daytime) node from north to south, the satellites cross the equator on each pass at a time that provides the maximum illumination with minimum water vapor (haze and cloud build-up). Landsat 7 crosses the equator at 10:00 a.m. +/- 15 minutes (mean local time) while Landsat 8 crosses the equator at 10:00 a.m. +/- 15 minutes (mean local time).

The Landsat 7 and Landsat 8 satellites each acquire data in accordance with their respective Long Term Acquisition Plan (LTAP) using parameters such as seasonality, land definition, historical cloud cover, gain settings, and sun angle.

Learn more:

Related Content

Filter Total Items: 7

How does data from Sentinel-2A’s MultiSpectral Instrument compare to Landsat data?

The Sentinel-2A MultiSpectral Instrument (MSI) data has spectral bands very similar to Landsat 8 (excluding the thermal bands of Landsat 8’s Thermal Infrared Sensor). Comparison of Landsat 7 and 8 bands with Sentinel-2 Source: https://landsat.gsfc.nasa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Landsat.v.Sentinel-2...

How do I search for and download Landsat data?

Landsat data products held in the USGS archives can be searched and downloaded at no charge from a variety of sources. Visit the Landsat Data Access web page for information about how Landsat data products can be downloaded individually or in bulk. Landsat imagery not found in the USGS archive might have been collected by one of the USGS...

What are the band designations for the Landsat satellites?

The sensors aboard each of the Landsat satellites were designed to acquire data in different ranges of frequencies along the electromagnetic spectrum ( View Bandpass Wavelengths for all Landsat Sensors ). The Multispectral Scanner (MSS) carried on Landsat 1,2,3,4 and 5 collected data in four ranges (bands); the Thematic Mapper (TM) sensor on...

How can I find the acquisition time for a Landsat scene?

Landsat descending (daytime) acquisitions run from north to south; they cross the equator between 10:00 am and 10:25 am local time on each pass to provide maximum illumination. The exact acquisition start and stop times for each scene are listed in the metadata file that is included in the Landsat Level-1 product, and also displayed on...

How do I search for and download ascending (nighttime) Landsat scenes?

Ascending (nighttime) WRS-2 Path/Row numbers are different from descending (daytime) Path/Rows. Cloud cover values for Landsat night scenes will always be zero. If you know the daytime path/row or coordinates and want to know the nighttime path/row, use the WRS-2 Path/Row to Latitude/Longitude Converter . Use EarthExplorer to search using path/row...

Can Landsat satellite acquisition requests be made for a specific date and location?

Data acquisition requests are not available to the public. The Landsat 8 and Landsat 7 satellites each acquire data on a continual basis in accordance with their respective Long Term Acquisitions Plans. The Landsat Acquisitions page has calendars and information about daily schedules. Learn more: Landsat 8 Long Term Acquisitions Plan Landsat 7...

After a Landsat scene is collected, when will it become available for search and download?

Landsat scenes directly downlinked to the USGS EROS Landsat Ground Station become available through EarthExplorer within 6 hours after acquisition, and then become visible in GloVis and the LandsatLook Viewe r within 24 hours. Scenes downlinked to other USGS Ground Stations can be available within 1 to 2 weeks. Scenes downlinked to International...
Filter Total Items: 4
Date published: October 1, 2018

USGS EROS Center Releases New Earth As Art Images

The USGS EROS Center is happy to announce the addition of a new Earth As Art collection. With Earth As Art 5, we have added 24 new art images from Earth-observing satellites that show off the beauty and wonder of the planet.

Date published: July 5, 2018

A Testimonial for Analysis Ready Data

Jim Vogelmann discovered something interesting about Analysis Ready Data (ARD) these last few months as he and his colleagues worked on finding a better way to quantify fire risk in the Great Basin of the western United States.

ARD, Vogelmann learned, works really well.

Date published: January 11, 2017

Landsat Eyes Help Guard the World’s Forests

“We’re seeing the loss of forests in many places,” said Matthew Hansen, a professor at the University of Maryland. “Dynamics include increasing tropical deforestation, more frequent and severe boreal forest fires, disease in temperate forests and the commoditization of subtropical forests.”

Date published: July 18, 2016

Landsat—The Watchman that Never Sleeps

In western North America, mountain pine beetles infest and ravage thousands of acres of forest lands. Landsat satellites bear witness to the onslaught in a way that neither humans nor most other satellites can.

Filter Total Items: 10
December 31, 2017

Landsat Collections

Landsat Collections: Providing a Stable Environmental Record for Time Series Analysis

This video introduces the new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Collection 1 inventory structure. Collection 1 required the reprocessing of all archived Landsat data to achieve radiometric and geometric consistency of Level-1 products through time and across all Landsat sensors

...
November 7, 2017

Landsat Analysis Ready Data (ARD)

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has improved Landsat data quality and usability through the creation of Analysis Ready Data (ARD) for the conterminous United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. Landsat ARD greatly reduces the preparatory work currently required to do time-series analysis for understanding landscape change for operational and science users. Landsat Collections

...
October 18, 2017

Landsat In Action - Monitoring Polar Ice Caps with Ted Scambos

Ted Scambos, Lead Scientist at the National Snow & Ice Data Center, talks about the roll of Landsat in his research studying polar regions.
 

September 19, 2017

Landsat Collections — What are Tiers?

This is the third video in a series describing the new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Collection 1 inventory structure. Collection 1 required the reprocessing of all archived Landsat data to achieve radiometric and geometric consistency of Level-1 products through time and across all Landsat sensors. This video explains how Landsat Collection Level-1 data products

...
June 30, 2017

Landsat Collections - RMSE

Landsat Collections: Providing a Stable Environment Record for Time Series Analysis

This is the second of a three-part video series describing the new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Collection 1 inventory structure. Collection 1 required the reprocessing of all archived Landsat data to achieve radiometric and geometric consistency of Level-1 products through

...
March 31, 2017

Landsat 8 Swath Animation

The Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center has created a video animation describing how Landsat 8 orbits the Earth. The video explains the 16-day cycle for capturing imagery of the entire world.
 

Landsat 7 Path 38 Row 31, Acquired March 29, 2013
April 15, 2013

Landsat 7 Path 38 Row 31, Acquired March 29, 2013

On March 29-30, 2013, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (later named Landsat 8) was in position under the Landsat 7 satellite. This provided opportunities for near-coincident data collection from both satellites. 

This Landsat 7 image (Path 38 Row 31), acquired March 29, 2013, shows the Great Salt Lake and surrounding waters in Utah. These water bodies provide for

...
Animation of landsat satellite orbiting earth

Animation of landsat satellite orbiting earth

The Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center has created a video animation describing how Landsat 8 orbits the Earth. The video explains the 16-day cycle for capturing imagery of the entire world.