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February 2019 - Landsat Update

Landsat Updates are prepared periodically and distributed electronically to provide information about Landsat activities and related topics of interest.

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Welcome to the first Landsat Update of the Year! These newsletters are published at least four times throughout the year to provide the Landsat user community updates on our latest news and new products, or future product improvements and enhancements.

Landsat 9: 2019 Milestone Plans & Development Status

New Landsat Science Products Now Available

Landsat Collection 2

New Landsat Missions Website URL

Meet the TSSC Landsat Science Communications Team



Landsat 9: 2019 Milestone Plans & Development Status

Landsat 9 is currently in Phase C — final design and fabrication — of the mission development and life cycle (see timeline below). 

Ground system software development is underway for delivery to the initial ground system readiness tests, which will begin this year and continue into 2020. Milestone meetings for ground, launch, and space segments are planned for the coming year to keep the mission progressing toward a scheduled launch readiness date of December 2020* from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. 

Highlights and actions from each milestone meeting will be posted on the Landsat 9 Mission webpage

*Update, March 2020 - Launch readiness date is now mid-spring 2021, as indicated by the updated graphic below.

Landsat 9 mission Development and Lifecycle Timeline

New Landsat Science Products Now Available

The USGS has developed research-quality, applications-ready, Level-2 and Level-3 science products derived from Landsat Level-1 data. These science products may be used to monitor and assess how changes in land use, land cover, and land condition affect people and the environment.

Level-2 Surface Reflectance and Level-2 Provisional Surface Temperature for Landsat acquisitions from August 1982 to present are available to download from the U.S. Landsat ARD dataset on EarthExplorer

Note: The Surface Temperature Science Product has reached a provisional level of maturity for the United States, meaning that its uncertainties are understood in multiple locations and assessments of its results have demonstrated positive science value.  Algorithm artifacts have been identified under certain observational conditions and are currently being analyzed to develop and test solutions to enhance algorithmic implementation, reduce uncertainty, and improve future surface temperature products. Current algorithm performance is documented in the peer-reviewed literature listed in the Provisional Surface Temperature documentation.

Additionally, the following ARD tile-based Level-3 Landsat Science Products are now available to download from the Landsat Collection 1 Level-3 dataset section on EarthExplorer:

  • Dynamic Surface Water Extent (Landsat 4 TM – Landsat 8, 1982-present)
  • Fractional Snow Covered Area (Landsat 5 TM – Landsat 8, 1984-present)
  • Burned Area (Landsat 5 TM – Landsat 8, 1984-present)

The figure below illustrates sample images of each Landsat Science Product contained in ARD Tile h004v002, located in central Washington State.

Landsat Science Product sample

Visit the Landsat Science Products webpage for more information and documentation about these Landsat Science Products. 

Landsat Collection 2

The USGS is planning the release of Landsat Collection 2 in late calendar year 2019. Landsat Collection 2 will contain Level-1 and Level-2 products generated from Landsat 1-8 data, with Landsat 9 Operational Land Imager 2 (OLI-2)/Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 (TIRS-2) data to be added after nominal data is received, expected in early 2021.

In Collection 2, Landsat processing systems will continue to generate scene-based outputs and deliver the data in UTM projection. The Quality Assessment (QA) band specifications for both Level-1 and Level-2 products to harmonize the data will be updated and provided – this includes adding per-band Level-1 saturation flags and removing duplicate fields currently provided in the Level-2 QA band.

Each Collection 2 Level-2 product package will contain Surface Reflectance and Provisional Surface Temperature bands, that will be created when all auxiliary data becomes available.

As the definition of Collection 2 becomes finalized, details about these data products and documentation will be made available on this site. 

New Landsat Missions Website URL

Recently the Landsat Missions Website ( transitioned into the unified USGS website structure, and as a result has a new URL:

The new USGS-based website has a similar menu structure to the former Landsat Missions website and contains all the same content. Work continues to transition all web content to the new USGS site, so users may notice incomplete pages until the effort is completed in early 2019. 

Users are encouraged to visit the new site and reestablish bookmarks with updated URL’s where necessary. Please contact Customer Services with any questions or to receive assistance locating the pages on the new USGS Landsat website.

Meet the TSSC Landsat Science and Communications Team

Technical Support Services Contract (TSSC) Landsat Science Communications Team
From Left to Right:  Dr. Chris Barnes, Michelle Bouchard, Linda Owen, and Dr. Saeed Arab. 

1Dr. Chris Barnes is the Technical Support Services Contract (TSSC) Landsat Science Communications Team Lead at the U.S. Geological Survey EROS Center, Sioux Falls, SD. Chris manages the team of scientists and communications specialists responsible for discovering, validating, and promoting the characteristics of USGS Landsat Science Products.

1Michelle Bouchard is a Landsat Science Communications Specialist at the U.S. Geological Survey EROS Center. Michelle strategizes and executes the social media strategy for the USGS Landsat Twitter account, creates Landsat visualizations and animations, and provides Landsat knowledge to webinars and outreach venues.

1Linda Owen is a Landsat Science Communications Specialist at the U.S. Geological Survey EROS Center. Linda’s primary role is maintaining Landsat website content, while also coordinating and supporting communication strategies relating to all aspects of the USGS Landsat Program.

1Dr. Saeed Arab is a Remote Sensing Data Scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey EROS Center. Saeed is responsible for characterizing, validating, and documenting scientific algorithms to support their use in an operational environment, supporting the USGS's mission to provide science for a changing world.

1KBRwyle, Contractor to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center. 


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