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Landsat 6

The only commercial launch of the Landsat program, Landsat 6 never achieved orbit.

Sketch of Landsat 6 satellite in orbit
A sketch of what the Landsat 6 satellite would have looked like in orbit. 

Landsat 6 launched on October 5, 1993 on a Titan II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, but did not achieve orbit. The satellite carried the Enhanced Thematic Mapper, an improved version of the instruments on Landsat 4 and Landsat 5, and included a 15-meter panchromatic band.

Martin Marietta Astro Space designed and built the satellite, and Earth Observation Satellite Company (EOSAT) was responsible for development of the spacecraft and ground system under a Commerce Department contract.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Landsat 6 Satellite Planned Orbit Facts

  • Planned to orbit at the Earth in a sun-synchronous, near-polar orbit,
  • Anticipated to reach an altitude of 705 km (438 mi), inclined at 98.2 degrees (slightly retrograde)
  • Expected to have a 16-day repeat cycle with an equatorial crossing time of 10:00 a.m. (+/- 15 minutes)
  • Anticipated to use the Worldwide Reference System-2 (WRS-2) path/row system
  • Expected scene size of 170 km x 185 km (106 mi x 115 mi), Like Landsat 4 and Landsat 5

Landsat 6 Instrument 

Landsat 6 carried the ETM sensor. It was designed and built by Santa Barbara Research Center, a unit of GM Hughes Electronics. 

Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM)

  • Eight spectral bands, including a pan and thermal band:
    • Band 1 Blue (0.45 - 0.52 µm) 30 m
    • Band 2 Green (0.52 - 0.60 µm) 30 m
    • Band 3 Red (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
    • Band 8 Panchromatic (PAN) (0.52 - 0.90 µm) 15 m
  • Ground Sampling Interval (pixel size): 30 m reflective, 120 m thermal
     

Landsat 6 Spacecraft Facts

  • Power provided by a single sun-tracking solar array and two 50 Ampere-Hour (AHr), Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) batteries
  • Attitude control provided through four reaction wheels (pitch, yaw, roll, and skew); three 2-channel gyros with celestial drift updating; a static Earth sensor; a 1750 processor; and torque rods and magnetometers for momentum uploading
  • Orbit control and backup momentum unloading provided through a blow-down monopropellant hydrazine system with a single tank containing 270 pounds of hydrazine, associated plumbing, and twelve 1-pound-thrust jets
  • Weight: approx. 4,800 lbs (2,200 kg)
  • Length: 4.3 m (14 ft)
  • Diameter: 2.8 m (9 ft)

Additional Resources

Landsat 6 History (NASA Landsat Science)

NOAA press release, March 1995

 

 

 

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