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The Operational Land Imager (OLI) and the Thermal Infrared Scanner (TIRS) are the two instruments carried on board Landsat 8 (also known as LDCM - Landsat Data Continuity Mission) satellite.

These two sensors provide seasonal coverage of the global landmass at a spatial resolution of 30 metres (visible, NIR, SWIR), 100 metres (thermal) and 15 metres (panchromatic). The spectral coverage and radiometric performance (accuracy, dynamic range, and precision) are designed to detect and characterise multi-decadal land cover change in concert with historic Landsat data.

The OLI provides two new spectral bands in respect to the Landsat 7 ETM+ instrument, one tailored especially for detecting cirrus clouds and the other for coastal zone observations, and the TIRS collects data for two more narrow spectral bands in the thermal. The nominal schedules expect the collection of at least 400 OLI and TIRS scenes per day where each scene is a digital image covering a 185-by-180 km surface area.

The objective of scheduling and data collection is to provide cloud-free coverage of the global landmass on a seasonal basis. The main objective of ESA's implementation of the Landsat 8 PDGS is the provision of the LDCM data to the European user community within 3 hours after the sensing time.

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Timelapse from space reveals glacier in motion

26 November 2015

Animations that compress 25 years of satellite images into just one second reveal the complex behaviour and flow of glaciers in the Karakoram mountain range in Asia.

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Melting slows Greenland ice flow

28 October 2015

It may seem counter intuitive, but satellite data suggest that part of the Greenland ice sheet moves more slowly if the surface of the ice melts faster.

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Facts and figures
Operators USGS (US Geographical Survey)
Launch Dates / Status 11 February 2013 - operating nominally in 2015
Orbit Height 705 km
Orbit Type sun-synchronous
Repeat Cycle 16 days
Resolution OLI visible, near-infrared, SWIR and cirrus: 30 metres
TIRS 100 metres
OLI panchromatic: 15 metres
Swath Width 185 km
Onboard Sensors provided under TPM
  • OLI (Operational Land Imager)
  • TIRS (Thermal InfraRed Scanner)


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