Initially, when the Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) resumed imaging after moving to a lower orbit in early 2022, it was decided to collect data through September to capture the Northern Hemisphere growing season. However, because the quality of the data remains nominal, and the health of the satellite remains steady, the ETM+ will continue data acquisitions into 2023.
Landsat 7 Extended Science Mission to Continue into the New Year
Landsat 7 data acquired in lower orbit have proven to remain reliable for relevant global impact assessments, and affords more imaging opportunities in conjunction with on-WRS2 Landsat 8 and Landsat 9.
“What’s unique about Landsat 7 at its lower orbit is that it is under flying Landsat 8 and Landsat 9 on a regular basis as it moves back and forth under each Observatory” shared Chris Crawford, USGS Landsat Project Scientist.
Monitoring of the observatory and the quality of the data will be periodically reevaluated to determine if the extended science mission can continue.
“There's been quite a bit of work done by the Landsat Calibration/Validation team to verify the imaging geometry and radiometry. On the science side, we've done extensive analysis, guaranteeing the quality of the products.” said Crawford. “At this point in the Landsat 7 extended science mission, we have high confidence that the data is on par with what we were acquiring during its nominal mission.”
The data acquired during the Landsat 7 extended science mission are processed to Landsat Collection 2 Level-1 calibrated data products, and Level-2 surface reflectance and surface temperature science products. Like other Landsat products, they are available for download on USGS data access portals. Reminder: No U.S. Landsat Analysis Ready Data or Level-3 science products are created from Landsat 7 extended science mission data.
A new webpage describing the properties of the Landsat 7 extended science mission is now available. This page contains details about the Landsat 7 orbit and data acquisition, along with Calibration/Validation efforts to ensure the data remain stable within established thresholds and science product verification.