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Friday, May 31, 2013

Landsat 8 is up and running - and the data is free

Landsat 8 officially opened for business yesterday (May 30, 2013).  The satellite weighs in at 4,566 lbs (2,071kg), not including the instrument weight - and can image in nine spectral bands as well as measuring the heat signature of Earth features in two additional bands.  The Landsat 8 replaces the aging Landsat 7 which has been providing Earth imaging for more than 14 years (albeit with some ongoing mechanical issues with the Scan Line Corrector) - the Landsat satellite program has been providing Earth images for over 41 years - and Landsat 8 is expected to continue that work for at least another 5-10 years under the direction of the USGS.  Landsat 8 will circle the Earth 14 times a day, and complete a full Earth scan every 16 days.  Landsat images have been used in a video time-lapse by Google to display recent Earth climate changes.  Images from the satellite are available from: glovis.usgs.gov