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A History of the Landsat Science Satellite

Landsat 1 • Landsat 2 • Landsat 3 • Landsat 4 • Landsat 5 • Landsat 6 • Landsat 7 • Landsat 8
From the Beginning “The Landsat program was created in the United States in the heady scientific and exploratory times associated with taming the atom and going to the Moon,” explains Dr. John Barker. In fact, it was the Apollo Moon-bound missions that inspired the Landsat program. During the early test bed missions for Apollo, photographs of Earth’s land surface from space were taken for the first time.






“This photography has been documented as the stimulus for Landsat,” explains Dr. Paul Lowman, who proposed the terrain photography experiment for the last two Mercury missions, the Gemini missions, and the Apollo 7 and 9 missions.



Thor-Delta rocket prepared to launch Landsat 1, 1972.
In 1965, director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), William Pecora, proposed the idea of a remote sensing satellite program to gather facts about the natural resources of our planet. Pecora stated that the pr…

Digital Town Planning by Night

“Here!” exclaimed Jebediah as he nosed his schooner onto a fan of fertile loam. Come sundown, a makeshift corral encircled his livestock, and by Sabbath eve, the crown of a crude barn rose above the neighboring hummock.


Next spring, a steady procession of ships yielded a healthy crop of farmhouses. Wagon wheels burned a double track to the river landing, where itinerant capitalists soon repurposed a cluster of spartan shacks:


Dispell ill humours at Rodger’s Saloon!

 Satisfy your homestead needs with Trusty Mercantile!

 Every fifth horseshoe free at The Irony!


Forthwith straightened and graded, Main Street ran east to west, land astride platted into tidy rectangles. Soon, Washington and Jefferson joined in parallel, crossed at even intervals by perpendicular First, Second, and Third Streets.


A crystal in saturated solution, this grid grew: shooting southeast into open country along Telegraph Road, doglegging left around Miller’s Swamp, and crossing the river at Monroe Street Bridge, …