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History and Features of Landsat 7. By: Andy Vogelsberg. Photo of Landsat 7 taken from http://teacherlink.ed.usu.edu/tlnasa/pictures/litho/landsat/land.jpg. History of Landsat Program. The Landsat program was inspired by Apollo moon bound missions.

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history and features of landsat 7

History and Features of Landsat 7

By: Andy Vogelsberg

Photo of Landsat 7 taken fromhttp://teacherlink.ed.usu.edu/tlnasa/pictures/litho/landsat/land.jpg

history of landsat program
History of Landsat Program
  • The Landsat program was inspired by Apollo moon bound missions.
  • William Pecora proposed the idea of having remote sensing satellites in space in 1964.
  • Eight years later, his proposal became reality, and the Landsat program had begun.
  • Landsat 1 was launched on July 23, 1972. Since then, six other satellites have been launched.
  • Landsat 7 is the most recent satellite we have launched, providing us the most technological data possible.
landsat 7
Landsat 7
  • Landsat 7 was launched on April 15, 1999 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and was built to last at least 5 years.
  • The purpose of Landsat 7 is to replicate the capabilities of other launches, as well as provide new information.
  • Landsat 7 can provide more information than any of the previous Landsat satellites at a lower cost.
  • 532 images a day can be produced by Landsat 7.
  • Landsat 7 orbits the earth at an altitude of 705 Kilometers and covers a swath width of 185 km.
  • The satellite covers the whole earth in 15 days or 232 orbits.
  • Landsat 7 weighs 1973 kg.
  • The observing instrument on board Landsat 7 is the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+).
enhanced thematic mapper plus etm
Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus(ETM+)
  • The ETM+ was also used on Landsats 4 and 5.
  • Landsat 7’s ETM+ has features that other satellites did not.
  • These features make Landsat 7 a more useful component for studies in global change, monitoring of land cover, and mapping large areas.

Image of Landsat 7 ETM+ taken from:


components of landsat 7
Components of Landsat 7

A drawing of Landsat 7 taken from:


advantages of landsat 7 s etm
Advantages of Landsat 7’s ETM+

Landsat 7’s ETM+ is different from previous thematic mappers because it offers:

  • a panchromatic band with 15m spatial resolution
  • on-board, full aperture, 5% absolute radiometric calibration
  • a thermal IR channel with 60m spatial resolution
  • an on-board data recorder

(Bulleted data taken directly from http://landsat.gsfc.nasa.gov/about/landsat7.html)

malfunction on landsat 7
Malfunction on Landsat 7
  • On May 31, 2003 Landsat 7 experienced its first problems.
  • The Scan Line Protector (SLC) on board Landsat 7 failed. The problem created narrow bands on images formed by Landsat 7 to be missing.
  • These narrow bands were caused because image scanning in the SLC was at an angle instead of being parallel.
  • To this day, the malfunction of the SLC is still affecting images acquired by the satellite.
  • Landsat 7 loses approximately 22% on each image it acquires because the SLC is not operable.
  • Methods are being done by the USGS to duplicate all missing data due to the malfunction of the SLC.
affects of no slc
Affects of No SLC
  • The SLC’s job was to compensate for the forward motion of Landsat 7.
  • Without it, a zig zag motion is created. (bottom left)
  • The photo on the right shows the affected area created without no SLC.

Images taken from http://landsat.usgs.gov/data_products/slc_off_data_products/slc_off_background.php

major advantages of landsat 7
Major Advantages of Landsat 7
  • Landsat 7 continues to give us high-quality data with the ETM+ which dates back to Landsat 4 in 1982. Since data looks similar, global change is easy to detect from pre-existing archives.
  • Data acquisition is optimum, because Landsat 7 takes all photos in sun lit conditions. Information from NOAA is also used to keep images cloud cover minimal.
  • Landsat 7 can obtain and store more data faster than any other form of remote sensing instrument.
  • The data collected by the satellite is easy to get through the USGS or EROS at an affordable price.
  • The Landsat 7's ETM+ has been called "the most stable, best characterized Earth observation instrument ever placed in orbit."

(Taken from http://landsat.gsfc.nasa.gov/about/landsat7.html)

  • Landsat 7’s ETM+ has also set the standard on accuracy for all other remote sensing systems. The ground accuracy acquired through Landsat 7’s data is second to none.
controllers of landsat 7
Controllers of Landsat 7
  • The Flight Operations Team (FOT) is in charge of command control as well as telemetry operations for Landsat 7.
  • All controls of the sattelite take place in the Mission Operation Center in the Goddard Space Flight Center which is located in Greenbelt Maryland.
  • Data is captured from the sattelite in both Sioux Falls SD, as well as Alice Springs Australia.
  • Backup sites are also located in Poker Flat Alaska and Svalbard Norway.
mission operations center
Mission Operations Center



images taken by landsat 7
Images Taken by Landsat 7

Top Left:Cap Canaveral Launching Site

Middle:Flooding in South Africa

Top Right:Flooding in New Orleans due to

Hurricane Katrina




composite images of landsat 7
Composite Images of Landsat 7
  • Left Image: True Color Composite (Bands 321)
  • Middle Image: Near Infrared Composite (Bands 432)
  • Right Image: Short-wave Infrared Composite (Bands 742)


  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Landsat 7, World Wide Web URL: http://landsat.gsfc.nasa.gov/about/landsat7.html
  • Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Landsat 7, World Wide Web URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landsat_7
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Landsat 7 Science Data Users Handbook, World Wide Web URL: http://landsathandbook.gsfc.nasa.gov/handbook.html
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration, SLC-off Products: Background, World Wide Web URL: http://landsat.usgs.gov/data_products/slc_off_data_products/slc_off_background.php
  • Landsat 7, Supplying data users worldwide with low cost, multi-purpose, land remote sensing data into the next century, World Wide Web URL: http://geo.arc.nasa.gov/sge/landsat/l7.html
  • Landsat 7 Home Page, World Wide Web URL: http://ls7pm3.gsfc.nasa.gov/mainpage.html