Landsat Launches - Looking Back

Video Transcript
Download Video
Right-click and save to download

Detailed Description

A short look back at the the history of Landsat launches through the historic articles of the Lompoc Record publication.

View AD version.


Date Taken:

Length: 00:02:58

Location Taken: US


Landsat satellites have observed
the Earth for nearly 50 years.

The launch of Landsat 9 is set to
continue that important role of

helping manage resources and
extend the program’s archive into

the future.

Landsat 9 also continues the
tradition of launching from the

Vandenberg base at Lompoc,

Every Landsat Launch has taken
place here,

and by looking back at articles
published in the local newspaper

- The Lompoc Record,
we have a historical view of each

satellite launch scene and the
technical advancements sent into


In 1972,
an experimental satellite named

Earth Resources Technology

or ERTS,
launched from there and began

sending images back to Earth that
exceeded scientists’ expectations

and revealed valuable insights
about agriculture,

and much more.

In 1975,
following the success of the

a second experimental ERTS

satellite launched and then was
christened Landsat 2.

Three years,
and many scientific studies,

Landsat 3 followed.

Each of the first three
satellites had a repeat cycle of

18 days.

Landsat 4 launched in 1982 with
an updated design and a new

Thematic Mapper.

This satellite had a repeat cycle
of 16 days,

as did every Landsat satellite
that came after it.

Landsat 5,
similar in design to Landsat 4,

launched in 1984.

At the time,
Landsat 5 had a design life of

only a handful of years,
like previous Landsat satellites.

Landsat 5 was able to provide

data for 28 years and prevent a
gap in the archive.

Landsat 6 launched in 1993 after many delays
but did not achieve orbit

Had it successfully achieved orbit,

it would've transmitted data from a new
enhance thematic mapper

In 1999 Landsat 7 launched and
successfully achieved orbit

with the enhanced Thematic Mapper on board.

Landsat 7 used the Delta Launch Vehicle

as did all of those before it
except Landsat 6,

which was launched with a Titan.

Landsat 8 and 9 would use the
Atlas launch vehicles.

Landsat 8 launched in 2013 with
two new sensors.

The launch had thousands of

among them local school kids.

Crowds of spectators were common
for Landsat launches and included

government officials,
people who had worked on the

and Lompoc-area residents.

About 100 days after NASA
launches Landsat 9 from

the U.S.

Geological Survey is set to take
over ownership and operation of

the satellite.

The new data will flow into the
Landsat archive kept by the USGS

Earth Resources Observation and
Science Center to be used by

scientists tackling the
challenges of today and tomorrow.