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Explore the history, technology, and scientific achievements of each Landsat satellite, mission by mission. 

Landsat 8 launch photo
Landsat 8 launches aboard an Atlas V rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on February 11, 2013.

Each Landsat Mission since 1972 has built not only the archive of satellite observations, but advanced the program technologically and served to further the science of remote sensing. 

The Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS-1), later re-christened Landsat 1, hastened in the era of land remote sensing with the introduction of the Multispectral Scanner. By the 1980s, Landsat satellites were equipped with Thematic Mapper sensors, expanding the range of recordable data to a wider portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Landsats 8 and 9 carry a Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS), which records global surface temperatures.

With each successional mission, the applications of Landsat data expand, answering more questions about the Earth and its natural resources and opening pathways to the exploration of still more questions. Landsat 3, for example, helped form the basis for the first global program for monitoring crop productivity in response to a grain shortage in the former U.S.S.R. Landsats 8 and 9 currently factor into global efforts to monitor and measure deforestation, and to incentivize reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Click through each Landsat mission page for a brief overview of its history, data acquisitions, and scientific applications.