Wisconsin Geospatial News

Landsat 5 satellite on brink of failure

A US Geological Survey (USGS) news release indicates that Landsat 5 image collection has been suspended following degradation of an electronic component on board the satellite. Engineers have suspended image collection for 90 days in order to explore options for restoring the component. Landsat 5 has been brought back from near-failure on several occassions in the past.

Landsat 5 was launched in 1984 and was designed to last only 3 years. Instead, the satellite has operated for 27 years. Landsat 6 failed at launch in 1993. Landsat 7, launched in 1999 with a 5-year design life, is still functioning but with limited capabilities. Landsat 8, currently called the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, is scheduled to be launched in January of 2013.

The Landsat program began in 1972 with the launch of the ERTS-1 satellite. The Landsat program has been collecting imagery continuously since that time.

Landsat data for Wisconsin is available through WisconsinView which includes imagery dating back to the 1980s. Public-domain Landsat data is also available from the USGS via the Global Visualization Viewer and EarthExplorer. More details can be found on the Landsat missions page.