Landsat 4 (MSS)

Archive: 1982 - 1992

Landsat 4 (MSS) Imagery

About Landsat 4 (MSS)

The LANDSAT project commenced in 1972 with the launch of the Landsat 1 spacecraft. Initially, the system was operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States, and in 1983 was transferred to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Landsat 4 was launched on July 16, 1982. MSS sensors were identical to those on the previous Landsat satellites. The four spectral bands were numbered from 1 to 4, since RBVs were no longer used.
MSS sensors acquired images of the Earth from July 1972 to January 1999. The imagery collected during the first decade of these missions predates most other operational imaging efforts, providing a unique view of the Earth that was not available elsewhere. These early missions also provided the first digital remote sensing products to the scientific community.

Landsat 4 (MSS) Characteristics

  • NASA
  • NOAA
Launch Date
July 16, 1982
Delta 3920
Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
  • 3-axis stabilized, zero momentum with control of 0.01 deg using reaction wheels
  • Aluminum with graphite struts
  • Hydrazine propulsion system
  • Single solar array with 1-axis articulation
  • Three Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) batteries provide 100 Ampere-Hour (AHr ) total
  • Retractable boom (4 m long) with 2 powered joints supports the articulated High Gain Antenna, which downlinked data via the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS)
  • Weight: approximately 4,300 lbs (1,942 kg)
  • Direct downlink with TDRSS
  • Data rate: 85 Mbps
  • Communications system uses S, X, L, and Ku Bands
  • Quantization: 8 bit (256 levels)
  • Worldwide References System-2 (WRS-2) path/row system
  • Circular, sun-synchronous, near-polar orbit at an altitude of 705 km (438 mi)
  • Inclined at 98.2°
  • Circled the Earth every 99 minutes
  • Repeat cycle: 16 days
  • Equatorial crossing time: 9:45 a.m. +/- 15 minutes
  • Swath width: 185 km (115 mi)
  • Multispectral Scanner (MSS)
  • Thematic Mapper (TM)
Scene size
170 km x 185 km (106 mi x 115 mi)
Design life
Minumum of 3 years

Landsat 4 (MSS) Specifications

Sensor Band number Band name Wavelength (μm) Resolution (m) Band Applications
MSS 1 Visible Green 0.5 - 0.6 60 Sediment-laden water, delineates areas of shallow water
MSS 2 Visible Red 0.6 - 0.7 60 Cultural features
MSS 3 NIR 0.7 - 0.8 60 Vegetation boundary between land and water, and landforms
MSS 4 NIR 0.8 - 1.1 60 Penetrates atmospheric haze best, emphasizes vegetation, boundary between land and water, and landforms

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