In a September 21, 1966 press release, Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall announced that the DOI was launching "Project EROS (Earth Resources Observation Satellites)." Udall's vision was to observe the Earth for the benefit of all.
The Department of the Interior, NASA, and the Department of Agriculture then embarked on an ambitious effort to develop and launch the first civilian Earth observation satellite. Their goal was achieved on July 23, 1972, with the launch of the Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS-1), which was later renamed Landsat 1. The launches of Landsat 2, Landsat 3, and Landsat 4 followed in 1975, 1978, and 1982, respectively.
When Landsat 5 launched in 1984, no one could have predicted that the satellite would continue to deliver high quality, global data of Earth’s land surfaces for 28 years and 10 months, officially setting a new Guinness World Record for "longest-operating Earth observation satellite." Landsat 6 failed to achieve orbit in 1993.
The Landsat 9 satellite launched September 27, 2021.
Landsat is a joint mission of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. USGS Landsat is a part of the National Land Imaging (NLI) Program. Landsat data are archived, processed and distributed from the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center.