Landsat-1 to Landsat-3


The Earthnet Programme: 40 years of evolution and future challenges
ESA's Earthnet Programme provided the initial means to access and exploit Earth Observation data.

blue arrow Mission Overview

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
  Landsat 1 Landsat 2 Landsat 3
Operators NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
Launch Dates 23 July 1972 22 January 1975 5 March 1978
End of Service 6 January 1978 Removed 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 Height 907 km 908 km 917 km
Orbit Type Sun-synchronous near-polar Sun-synchronous near-polar Sun-synchronous near-polar
Inclination 99.2° 99.2° 99.2°
Repeat Cycle 18 days 18 days 18 days
Equatorial Crossing Time 9:30 a.m. 9:45 a.m. 9:30 a.m.
Onboard sensors provided under TPM Multispectral Scanner (MSS) Multispectral Scanner (MSS) Multispectral Scanner (MSS)

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.

blue arrow Mission 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.

blue arrow Instruments

The Multi Spectral Scanner (MSS) instrument was carried aboard 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.
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The Return-Beam Vidicon (RBV) instrument was carried aboard 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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blue arrow Data

blue arrow DATA DOWNLOAD

Download data from Landsat-1 to 3 missions through the ESA TPM Online Dissemination system. The data is freely available to registered EO-SSO users.


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

  • Landsat MSS ESA archive: Landsat 1 to 5 MSS Level 1 GEO (geometrically corrected, L1G) and GTC (geometrically and terrain corrected, L1T) products acquired by ESA stations

blue arrow DATA QUALITY

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: