Landsat Missions

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Landsat 9

Landsat 9 Logo

Planned Launch: December 2020

The Landsat satellite system repeatedly observes the global land surface at a moderate resolution to help scientists distinguish between natural and human-induced changes to the landscape. Like Landsat 8, Landsat 9 will have a higher imaging capacity than previous Landsat satellites (~740 scenes/day), allowing for more valuable data to be added to the Landsat global land imaging archive.

A rendering of the Landsat 9 spacecraft.
Figure 1. A rendering of the Landsat 9 spacecraft. Image credit: Orbital ATK



  • NASA: Space and launch segments
  • Department of the Interior (DOI) U.S. Geological Survey (USGS): Ground segment and mission operations after launch
  • Spacecraft bus: Orbital ATK
  • Operational Land Imager Sensor-2: Ball Aerospace & Technology Corp.
  • Thermal Infrared Sensor-2: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


  • Date: December 2020
  • Vehicle: Launch services will be procured competitively through the Launch Services Program (LSP) at Kennedy Space Center (KSC).
  • Launched by: NASA
  • Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California


The Landsat 9 spacecraft handles power, propulsion, solid state recorder (SSR), space to ground communications, and housekeeping.

  • Design Life: 5 years
  • Consumables: 10 years


  • Science Data Downlink: 384 Mbps on X-band frequency
  • Telemetry, Tracking, and Command Systems: S-band frequency


  • Worldwide Reference System-2 (WRS-2) path/row system
  • Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 438 miles (705 km)
  • 233 orbit cycle; covers the entire globe every 16 days (except for the highest polar latitudes)
  • Inclined 98.2°
  • Circles the Earth every 98.9 minutes
  • Speed:  16,760 mph (26,972 km/hr)
  • Equatorial crossing time: 10:00 a.m. +/- 15 minutes


Operational Land Imager-2 (OLI-2)

The OLI-2 design is a copy of Landsat 8’s OLI, and will provide visible and near infrared / shortwave infrared (VNIR/SWIR) imagery consistent with previous Landsat spectral, spatial, radiometric and geometric qualities. OLI-2 will provide data for nine spectral bands with a maximum ground sampling distance (GSD), both in-track and cross track, of 30-meters(m) (98 feet) for all bands except the panchromatic band, which has a 15-meters (49 feet) GSD. OLI-2 will provide both internal calibration sources to ensure radiometric accuracy and stability, as well as the ability to perform solar and lunar calibrations.

  • Nine spectral bands:
    • Band 1 Visible (0.43 - 0.45 µm) 30-m
    • Band 2 Visible (0.450 - 0.51 µm) 30-m
    • Band 3 Visible (0.53 - 0.59 µm) 30-m
    • Band 4 Red (0.64 - 0.67 µm) 30-m
    • Band 5 Near-Infrared (0.85 - 0.88 µm) 30-m
    • Band 6 SWIR 1(1.57 - 1.65 µm) 30-m
    • Band 7 SWIR 2 (2.11 - 2.29 µm) 30-m
    • Band 8 Panchromatic (PAN) (0.50 - 0.68 µm) 15-m
    • Band 9 Cirrus (1.36 - 1.38 µm) 30-m


Thermal Infrared Sensor-2 (TIRS-2)

Landsat 9’s Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 (TIRS-2) will measure thermal radiance emitted from the land surface in two thermal infrared bands using the same technology that was used for TIRS on Landsat 8, however TIRS-2 will be an improved version of Landsat 8’s TIRS, both with regards to instrument risk class and design to minimize stray light.  TIRS-2 will provide two spectral bands with a maximum ground sampling distance, both in-track and cross track, of 100 m (328 ft) for both bands. TIRS-2 provides an internal blackbody calibration source as well as space view capabilities.

  • Two spectral bands:
    • Band 10 TIRS 1 (10.6 - 11.19 µm) 100-m
    • Band 11 TIRS 2 (11.5 - 12.51 µm) 100-m

Other Characteristics

  • Scene size: 170 km x 185 km (106 mi x 115 mi)
  • Design Life: 5 years


Details about the spacecraft and instruments


Milestones for Landsat 9

November 30, 2017 - Landsat 9 Ground Network Element Preliminary Design Review
USGS EROS - Sioux Falls, SD

The Landsat 9 Ground Network Element (GNE) Preliminary Design Review (PDR) took place at the USGS EROS Center on November 30, 2017.  The GNE will provide reliable communication services with the Landsat 9 spacecraft and route data appropriately within the Landsat 9 Ground System (GS). 

The GNE began preliminary design work last spring, and the GNE PDR demonstrated progress toward a final design.  It was the first of three Landsat 9 GS Element PDRs, the others taking place in January 2018 for the Landsat Multi-satellite Operations Center (LMOC) and in February 2018 for the Data Processing and Archive System (DPAS).  PDRs demonstrate how proposed designs meet functional and performance requirements. 

A NASA-led board, with representatives from NOAA and USGS, reviewed technical criteria, preliminary relationship of the design to the requirements, interface designs, and integration and test methods. With this successful PDR, the GNE will now proceed to the critical design phase, and a fall 2018 GNE Critical Design Review (CDR).  This GNE PDR helps ensure the entire Landsat 9 mission remains on track for a December 2020 launch.

September 12-14, 2017 – Landsat 9 Mission Preliminary Design Review
Annapolis, MD

The Landsat 9 Mission Preliminary Design Review (PDR) held September 12-14 allowed an independent Standing Review Board (SRB) to assess the collective integration of every major component of the Landsat 9 mission through the preliminary design phase.  

The SRB saw no issues, and confirmed satisfaction with the technical maturity of the major components of the mission—the spacecraft, the Operational Land Imager-2 and Thermal Infrared Sensor-2, the launch vehicle, and the ground system. The board was also complimentary toward how well the Landsat 9 team is integrated between NASA and the USGS.

This successful PRD allows the team to move forward to Key-Decision Point C (KDP-C), which will formally transition the project to the implementation phase. Review and approval of KDP-C is scheduled for December 6, 2017.


February 28 - March 1, 2017 – Landsat 9 Spacecraft Systems Review
Orbital ATK facility - Gilbert, AZ

An independent panel reviews the work of the spacecraft vendor to understand system requirements in a number of areas, including being able to control the orientation of Landsat 9 through attitude control, how much redundancy is built into the spacecraft, and how much fuel will be onboard. Reviewers analyze at fault management capabilities, which include hardware and software features used to address any potential problems that may arise in orbit. This is the final such review before full-scale spacecraft design and development begins.

February 23, 2017 – Landsat 9 Thermal Instrument Review
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center - Greenbelt, MD

The Landsat 9 Thermal Infrared Sensor -2 (TIRS-2) Critical Design Review (CDR) includes a key design area important in the review for USGS staff: the addition of baffles on the TIRS-2  telescope to help eliminate a stray light issue that occurred with Landsat 8’s Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS)after launch.  The CDR also looks at changes being made in the Scene Select Mechanism encoder electronics to address surges in current levels that have occurred with TIRS on Landsat 8. An independent review panel comprised of NASA, USGS,  contractor, and university experts in the field are reviewing  a number of other design areas, including scheduling, the ability to accomplish certain requirements, deadlines, and meet financial targets.

The Landsat Science Team addresses the science goals of the Landsat missions.

In accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), specifics of the mission are source selection sensitive. Information will be released as appropriate on this page.


Landsat 1 Landsat 2 Landsat 3 Landsat 4 Landsat 5 Landsat 6 Landsat 7 Landsat 8 Landsat 9


Landsat represents the world's longest continuously acquired collection of space-based moderate-resolution land remote sensing data. Four decades of imagery provides a unique resource for those who work in agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education, mapping, and global change research. Landsat images are also invaluable for emergency response and disaster relief.


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Landsat Updates

The Landsat Update is an informal communication tool, prepared periodically and distributed electronically to USGS Landsat partners, to provide information about Landsat activities and related topics of interest.

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