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Landsat 9: Empowering open science and applications through continuity

July 23, 2020

The history of Earth observation from space is well reflected through the Landsat program. With data collection beginning with Landsat-1 in 1972, the program has evolved technical capabilities while maintaining continuity of land observations. In so doing, Landsat has provided a critical reference for assessing long-term changes to Earth's land environment due to both natural and human forcing. Poised for launch in mid-2021, the joint NASA-USGS Landsat 9 mission will continue this important data record. In many respects Landsat 9 is a clone of Landsat-8. The Operational Land Imager-2 (OLI-2) is largely identical to Landsat 8 OLI, providing calibrated imagery covering the solar reflected wavelengths. The Thermal Infrared Sensor-2 (TIRS-2) improves upon Landsat 8 TIRS, addressing known issues including stray light incursion and a malfunction of the instrument scene select mirror. In addition, Landsat 9 adds redundancy to TIRS-2, thus upgrading the instrument to a 5-year design life commensurate with other elements of the mission. Initial performance testing of OLI-2 and TIRS-2 indicate that the instruments are of excellent quality and expected to match or improve on Landsat 8 data quality. Landsat-9 will maintain the current data acquisition rate of up to 740 scenes per day, with these scenes available from the Landsat archive at no cost to users. In this communication, we provide background and rationale for the Landsat 9 mission, describe the instrument payloads and ground system, and discuss data products available from the Landsat 9 mission through USGS.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2020
Title Landsat 9: Empowering open science and applications through continuity
DOI 10.1016/j.rse.2020.111968
Authors Jeffery G. Masek, Michael A. Wulder, Brian Markham, Joel McCorkel, Christopher J. Crawford, James C. Storey, Del Jenstrom
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Remote Sensing of Environment
Series Number
Index ID 70214303
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center