Landsat 8

Archive: since 2013

Landsat 8 Imagery

  • Landsat 8
    Riverside Dr, USA 38.91878°N 123.65250°W
  • Landsat 8
    Xinjiang Weiwuerzizhiqu, China 43.05672°N 89.06891°E
  • Landsat 8
    Dubai, United Arab Emirates 25.04002°N 55.08751°E

About Landsat 8

On February 11, 2013, the Atlas-V vehicle carrying the LDCM satellite (Landsat Data Continuity Mission) was launched from USS Vandenberg. The spacecraft was designed to continue the program of global space imagery acquisition that the United States has been implementing since 1972 with the help of the Landsat series.

The remote sensing equipment installed on LCDM includes a multichannel scanning radiometer OLI (Operational Land Imager) and a two-channel – IR radiometer TIRS (Thermal Infrared Sensor). The OLI instrument, developed by Ball Aerospace & Technologies, operates at nine wavelengths in the range of 0.433-2.300 μm and provides images with a maximum resolution of 15 m using advanced space imagery technologies. For their development, the experimental EO-1 satellite (launched in 2000 and equipped with the Advanced Land Imager radiometer, a prototype of the OLI radiometer) was used.

The payload of the satellite utilises a new design comprised of fewer moving elements, which will increase its reliability and service life by at least 5 years. The mapping accuracy of the resulting images is 12 m and above. Thanks to OLI, for the first time in Landsat series satellites, it is possible to make observations via two new wavelength ranges, which are crucial for studying cirrus clouds and the quality of lake and coastal waters.

The spatial landsat 8 resolution of the images obtained with the TIRS instrument is 100 m. Its main purpose is to obtain surface temperature characteristics, and to study the process of heat and moisture transfer in the interests of the agricultural sector, water management, etc.

In contrast to the equipment installed on previous Landsat satellites, TIRS provides the ability to conduct observations in not just one, but two infrared wavelength Landsat 8 band combinations. Both instruments shoot in scanning mode along the path of the spacecraft, which reduces the level of radiometric distortion in comparison with the transverse scanning instruments used on previous Landsat satellites.

Landsat 8 Characteristics

  • NASA
  • Spacecraft bus: Orbital Science Corp.
  • Operational Land Imager Sensor: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
  • Thermal Infrared Sensors: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Launch Date
February 11, 2013
Atlas-V rocket
Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
  • 3.14 terabit solid-state data recorder
  • Power provided by a single 9 x 0.4 meter solar array and one 125 Ampere-Hour (AHr), Nickel-Hydrogen (NiH2) battery
  • Weight: 2,071 kg (4,566 lbs) fully loaded with fuel (without instruments)
  • Length: 3 m (9.8 ft)
  • Diameter: 2.4 m (7.9 ft)
  • Direct Downlink with Solid State Recorders (SSR)
  • Data rate: 384 Mbps on X-band frequency; 260.92 Mbps on S-band frequency
  • Worldwide Reference System-2 (WRS-2) path/row system
  • Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 705 km (438 mi)
  • 233 orbit cycle; covers the entire globe every 16 days (except for the highest polar latitudes)
  • Inclined 98.2° (slightly retrograde)
  • Circles the Earth every 98.9 minutes
  • Equatorial crossing time: 10:00 a.m. +/- 15 minutes
  • OLI
  • TIRS
Scene size
170 km x 185 km (106 mi x 115 mi)
Design life
Minimum of 5 years
Landsat 8 photo 1
Landsat 8 photo 2
Landsat 8 photo 3
Landsat 8 photo 4

Landsat 8 Bands

SensorBand numberBand nameWavelength (μm)Resolution (m)Band Applications
OLI 1 Coastal 0.43 - 0.45 30 Coastal and aerosol studies
OLI 2 Blue 0.45 - 0.51 30 Bathymetric mapping, distinguishing soil from vegetation, and deciduous from coniferous vegetation
OLI 3 Green 0.53 - 0.59 30 Emphasizes peak vegetation, which is useful for assessing plant vigor
OLI 4 Red 0.63 - 0.67 30 Discriminates vegetation slopes
OLI 5 NIR 0.85 - 0.88 30 Emphasizes biomass content and shorelines
OLI 6 SWIR 1 1.57 - 1.65 30 Discriminates moisture content of soil and vegetation; penetrates thin clouds
OLI 7 SWIR 2 2.11 - 2.29 30 Improved ability to track moisture content of soil and vegetation and thin cloud penetration
OLI 8 Pan 0.50 - 0.68 15 15 meter resolution, sharper image definition
OLI 9 Cirrus 1.36 - 1.38 30 Improved detection of cirrus cloud contamination
TIRS 10 TIRS 1 10.60 - 11.19 30 (100) 100 meter resolution, thermal mapping and estimated soil moisture
TIRS 11 TIRS 2 11.50 - 12.51 30 (100) 100 meter resolution, thermal mapping and estimated soil moisture