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Posted by on Dec 27, 2012 in Science |

Derecognised observation satellite oldest still operating

Derecognised observation satellite oldest still operating

(CC) Goddard Photo and Video

The Geological Survey of the United States (USGS) will drop soon to Earth observation oldest still in operation, and was launched into space in 1984 despite having been designed only to operate for three years.

At present the Landsat 5 has orbited around the Earth about 150,000 times and transmitted about 2.5 million images along the years. “The satellite has recorded every event that has left a mark on the largest land area a football field since 1984, be it a hurricane, a tsunami, a forest fire, deforestation or an oil spill,” said the director the USGS, Marcia McNutt.

While the satellite has failed several times, usually were solvable problems. However, on December 21 announced that the USGS gyroscope broke a Landsat 5, so it was no longer possible to repair it and proceed out of orbit over the coming months.

A pity as this occurs within the 40 years anniversary of the Landsat program, a collaborative effort between NASA and the USGS, and currently has only one operational satellite, Landsat 7, launched 1999 to work for ‘just three years’. To see the practical utility of these satellites, just look at the video that Google was a few months ago to celebrate the anniversary.

Link: Landsat 5, the oldest satellite watching Earth, is shutting down after almost 30 years (The Verge)

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