Landsat 5 orbited the planet more than 150,000 times over the course of 28 years while transmitting over 2.5 million images of land surface conditions around the world.
Developed by NASA, Landsat 5 was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on March 1, 1984, and like Landsat 4, carried the Multispectral Scanner (MSS) and the Thematic Mapper (TM) instruments. Landsat 5 delivered Earth imaging data for nearly 29 years— setting a Guinness World Record for 'Longest Operating Earth Observation Satellite,' before being decommissioned on June 5, 2013. Clearly, this satellite outlived its three-year design.
Landsat 5 Satellite Orbit Facts
- Orbited the Earth at 705 km (438 mi) in a sun-synchronous, near-polar orbit (98.2 degrees inclination)
- Circled the Earth every 99 minutes, fourteen orbits a day
- Had a 16-day repeat cycle with an equatorial crossing time of 9:45 a.m. (+/- 15 minutes)
- Acquired on the Worldwide Reference System-2 (WRS-2) path/row system, with swath overlap (or sidelap) varying from 7 percent at the Equator to a maximum of approximately 85 percent at extreme latitudes.
Landsat 5 Spacecraft Facts
- 3-axis stabilized, zero momentum with control of 0.01 deg using reaction wheels
- Aluminum with graphite struts
- Hydrazine propulsion system
- Single solar array with 1-axis articulation
- Three Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) batteries provide 100 Ampere-Hour (AHr) total
- Retractable boom (4 m long) with 2 powered joints supports the articulated High Gain Antenna, which downlinks data via Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS)
- Communications system uses S,X,L, and Ku Bands
- Weight: approximately 4,800 lbs (2,200 kg)
Landsat 5 Instruments
Landsat 5 carried the Multispectral Scanner (MSS) and the Thematic Mapper (TM) sensors. MSS data acquisitions over the United States ceased in 1992 and global acquisitions ended in 1999. After the TM sensor failed in November 2011, the MSS instrument was brought back online. From June 2012 until January 2013, over 15,000 MSS scenes were collected.
Multispectral Scanner (MSS)
- Four spectral bands (identical to Landsat 1 and 2):
- Band 4 Visible green (0.5 to 0.6 µm) — powered off due to high current in August 1995
- Band 5 Visible red (0.6 to 0.7 µm)
- Band 6 Near-Infrared (0.7 to 0.8 µm)
- Band 7 Near-Infrared (0.8 to 1.1 µm)
- Six detectors for each spectral band provided six scan lines on each active scan
- Ground Sampling Interval (pixel size): 57 x 79 m
Visit Landsat 1-5 MSS for more information.
Thematic Mapper (TM)
- Added the mid-range infrared to the data
- Seven spectral bands, including a thermal band:
- Band 1 Visible (0.45 - 0.52 µm) 30 m
- Band 2 Visible (0.52 - 0.60 µm) 30 m
- Band 3 Visible (0.63 - 0.69 µm) 30 m
- Band 4 Near-Infrared (0.76 - 0.90 µm) 30 m
- Band 5 Near-Infrared (1.55 - 1.75 µm) 30 m
- Band 6 Thermal (10.40 - 12.50 µm) 120 m
- Band 7 Mid-Infrared (2.08 - 2.35 µm) 30 m
- Ground Sampling Interval (pixel size): 30 m reflective, 120 m thermal
Visit Landsat 4-5 TM for more information.
Landsat 5 History (NASA Landsat Science)
The Thematic Mapper (NASA Landsat Science)
The Multispectral Scanner (NASA Landsat Science)
How to Manage a Satellite Going 17K MPH - May 2013 (Library of Congress)