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About Landsat-1 to 3

The Landsat programme is a joint USGS and NASA-led enterprise for Earth observation that represents the world's longest running system of satellites for moderate-resolution optical remote sensing for land, coastal areas and shallow waters.

The first Landsat mission was launched in 1972, and was the first Earth observation satellite with the goal to monitor the world's land. It was soon followed by successors, and the series continues to this day.

Landsat-1 to 3 Parameters
OperatorsNASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)NASANASA
Launch Dates23 July 197222 January 19755 March 1978
End of Service6 January 1978Removed from operations on 25 February 1982. Decommissioned on 27 July 1983.Placed in standby mode on 31 March 1983 and decommissioned on 7 September 1983.
Orbit Height907 km908 km917 km
Orbit TypeSun-synchronous near-polarSun-synchronous near-polarSun-synchronous near-polar
Repeat Cycle18 days18 days18 days
Equatorial Crossing Time9:30 a.m.9:45 a.m.9:30 a.m.
Onboard sensors provided under TPMMultispectral Scanner (MSS)MSSMSS


Landsat-1 to 3 are part of ESA's Third Party Missions Programme, in which ESA has an agreement to distribute data products from the missions.

Landsat-1 to 3 Objectives

The primary mission objective was to monitor Earth resources with two imaging systems and to achieve periodic and complete coverage of the United States via multispectral, high spatial resolution images of solar radiation reflected from the Earth's surface.

Landsat-1 to 3 Instruments

The Multi Spectral Scanner (MSS) instrument was carried  onboard the Landsat-1 to 5 missions between 1972 and 2013. The objective of MSS was to provide repetitive daytime acquisition of high-resolution, multispectral data of the Earth's surface on a global basis and to demonstrate that remote sensing from space is a feasible and practical approach to efficient management of the Earth's resources. find out more

The Return-Beam Vidicon (RBV) instrument was carried onboard the Landsat-1 to 3 satellites between 1972 and 1983. It consisted of three co-aligned television cameras, one for each spectral band (band 1: blue-green, band 2: yellow-red, band 3: NIR). RBV measurements of reflected solar radiation were only conducted in daylight.

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Landsat-1 to 3 Data


ESA offers to registered user the access through the Online Dissemination server to the following data collections:


Quality Control is monitoring routinely the status of the spacecraft (payload and platform) and to check if the derived products meet the quality requirements along mission life-time. Learn about the quality control activities for the MSS instrument: