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The Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) is the next-generation Landsat satellite to ensure the continued acquisition and availability of Landsat-like data beyond the duration of the current Landsat missions.

The LDCM was created in October 2002 to investigate and research options for the most feasible solution to follow the Landsat 7 mission. Four options were considered:


  • A commercial enterprise (which was met with a lack of industry interest).
  • A commercial/government partnership (which was cancelled in 2003 due to inappropriate risk balancing).
  • International partnerships (which continue to develop and mature for possible future collaborations).
  • A government-only mission.

The original LDCM plans called for NASA to purchase data meeting LDCM specifications from a commercially owned and operated satellite system. (Option 2 above) However, after an evaluation of proposals received from industry, NASA cancelled the Request for Proposals in September 2003. In August 2004, a memorandum from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) directed Federal agencies to place Landsat-type sensors on the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) platform.

Following an evaluation of the technical complexity of this task, the strategy was adjusted and on December 23, 2005, a memorandum from the OSTP directed planning to begin for a free-flyer government-only mission, carrying the Operational Land Imager (OLI). In December 2009 a decision was made to add a thermal infrared sensor (TIRS) to the mission payload.

NASA leads the work on building the flight segment, securing launch services, flight ground systems integration, and conducting on-orbit initialization and verification. After launch checkout processes, the USGS will be responsible for the operations of this mission, which include collecting, archiving, processing, and distributing data products.

General Overview

  • Brief Insight Into The Landsat 8 LDCM Satellite - 11 February 2013 To Present.



  • NASA.
  • Department of the Interior (DOI) U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
  • Spacecraft bus: Orbital Science Corp..
  • Operational Land Imager Sensor: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
  • Thermal Infrared Sensors: NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre.


  • Date: February 11, 2013.
  • Vehicle: Atlas-V rocket.
  • Launched by: NASA.
  • Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.


  • Direct Downlink with Solid State Recorders (SSR).
  • Data rate: 384 Mbps on X-band frequency; 260.92 Mbps on S-band frequency.



  • 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).



  • 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.

Landsat 8 LDCM Satellite Image Data History

Operational Land Imager (OLI)

Nine spectral bands, including a pan band:

  • 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 (TIRS)

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
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