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February 26, 2024

The USGS Landsat International Cooperator Network met for the Landsat Technical Working Group (LTWG) #32 meeting in Orlando, Florida USA during the first week of February.

Over 30 participants representing 14 organizations and 8 countries from across the Landsat International Cooperator Network gathered in Orlando to meet on a variety of topics related to the Landsat Program and to discuss technical aspects of Landsat ground station operations. USGS personnel briefed attendees on the operational status of the Landsat 8 and Landsat 9 missions, their respective on-orbit instrument performance, and delivered updates on Landsat data processing, distribution and access.  


The USGS Landsat International Cooperator Network met for the Landsat Technical Working Group (LTWG) #32 meeting in 2024
The Landsat Technical Working Group.

Dr. Pete Doucette, the Director of the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, provided opening remarks and a reminder of the bold proclamation made by former Department of Interior Stewart Udall during a press release in 1966 to pursue what has now become the immensely successful Landsat Program. Dr. Doucette also shared opportunities he foresees with international partnerships in areas such as satellite flight operations, data management, and applied science. Dr. Doucette closed with how the use of artificial intelligence in the near and far future might be critical to holistic Earth science observation approaches to help better inform decision makers. 


Attendees also received an update on the ongoing Landsat Global Archive Consolidation (LGAC) initiative. Since the start of the LGAC initiative in 2010, the Landsat International Cooperator Network has facilitated the repatriation of about 6.7 million Landsat scenes back to the USGS EROS Center, of which approximately 4.9 million of these are unique to the USGS Landsat archive. As this initiative begins to draw to a close, the USGS will have received approximately 7.2 million total LGAC scenes from across the International Cooperator Network.  


USGS and NASA Landsat Next project representatives also provided the latest status on the new Landsat mission, which is expected to launch in late 2030. The new mission ensures the continuity of the longest space-based record of Earth’s land surface and will fundamentally transform the breadth and depth of actionable information freely available to end users. In November 2022, the mission passed Key Decision Point A, and is nearing the end of Formulation Phase A, which marks the completion of the concept and technology development cycle. 


The USGS also took the opportunity to present certificates in recognition to the following agencies in honor of their number of years of outstanding collaboration and partnership as a member of the Landsat International Cooperator Network: 


  • Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation (CCMEO) - 52 years 
  • European Space Agency (ESA) - 49 years  
  • Geoscience Australia (GA) - 45 years  
  • Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT) - 25 years 
  • German Aerospace Center (DLR) - 16 years 

In addition to the operational status briefings on the Landsat program from the USGS, each international agency presented highlights about their current ground station operations and real-time Landsat use case applications. They also shared updates related to their future ground station enhancements and automation plans in support of next generation ground station operations and new mission capabilities. 


Current Landsat Ground Network (LGN) Stations 2024


The meetings’ week-long agenda also included several special topic and discussion panel sessions, focused on current and emerging ground station operations topics and challenges. 

  • Special Topic #1: Landsat Next Project Update & Ka-Band Discussion 
  • Special Topic #2: Lights Out Operations 
  • Discussion Panel #1: Ground Station Automation 
  • Discussion Panel #2: Near Real Time Implementations & Applications 
  • Discussion Panel #3A: Cloud Architectures & Processing Environments 
  • Discussion Panel #3B: Cloud Data Access & Interoperability  


During these sessions, participants from their respective agencies as well as industry partners discussed best practices, lessons learned and where efficiencies could be gained in the future through potential bilateral or multi-agency collaboration. 

As LTWG #32 adjourned it was announced that Geoscience Australia will be hosting the next International Cooperator Network meeting (Landsat Ground Station Operators Working Group #52) in late 2024. Potential Special/Discussion Topics the network has expressed interest in being part of the agenda, include:  

  • Landsat Economic Value & Benefits 
  • User Needs Processes & Approaches 
  • Future Mission Development 
  • Landsat Next Update 
  • Future Ground Station Architectures & Enhancements 
  • Near Real-Time (NRT) Implementation & Applications 
  • Cloud Architectures & Processing Environments 
  • Analysis Ready Data (ARD) & Interoperability 
  • Cloud Data Access & Interoperability 
  • Global Validation Site Network 


For more information on that Landsat International Cooperator Network and the benefits of real-time Landsat data reception, visit the Landsat International Cooperator Network webpage


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