Landsat Data Continuity Mission
LDCM during ground testing
|Major contractors||Orbital Sciences (prime)
Ball Aerospace (instruments)
United Launch Alliance (LSP)
|Mission type||Earth observation|
|Launch date||11 February 2013, 18:02.536 UTC|
|Launch vehicle||Atlas V-401 AV-035|
|Launch site||Space Launch Complex 3E
Vandenberg Air Force Base
|Mission duration||5-10 years (planned)|
|Mass||2,623 kilograms (5,780 lb) gross
1,512 kilograms (3,330 lb) dry
|Dimensions||10 x 10 x 16 ft tall (3 x 3 x 4.8 m)|
|Batteries||125 amp-hour Ni-H2|
|Regime||Sun-synchronous low Earth|
|Altitude||705 kilometres (438 mi)|
|Orbital period||98.9 minutes|
|Repeat interval||16 days|
|Swath width||185 km (115 mi)|
|Equatorial crossing time||10:11 AM +/- 1 minute|
Landsat Data Continuity Mission is an American Earth observation satellite launched on February 11, 2013. It is the eighth satellite in the Landsat program; the seventh to reach orbit successfully. The Landsat Data Continuity Mission is a collaboration between NASA and the United States Geological Survey (USGS). NASA Goddard Space Flight Center provided development, mission systems engineering, and acquisition of the launch vehicle while the USGS provided for development of the ground systems and will conduct on-going mission operations.
The satellite was built by Orbital Sciences Corporation, who served as prime contractor for the mission. The spacecraft's instruments were constructed by Ball Aerospace and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center,and its launch was contracted to United Launch Alliance. During the first approximately 100 days in orbit, LDCM will undergo checkout and verification by NASA. Once complete, LDCM will be handed over to the USGS and officially renamed Landsat 8.
The satellite was launched aboard an Atlas V 401 carrier rocket with an Extended Payload Fairing. The launch took place at 18:02 UTC (10:02 PST) on 11 February 2013, from Space Launch Complex 3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Seventy eight minutes and thirty seconds later, the spacecraft separated from the upper stage of its carrier rocket, successfully completing the launch.
LDCM joins Landsat 7 on-orbit, providing increased coverage of the Earth's surface.
The original LDCM plans called for NASA to purchase data meeting LDCM specifications from a commercially owned and operated satellite system; 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, the OSTP issued a memorandum directing NASA to implement the LDCM in the form of a free-flyer spacecraft carrying an instrument referred to as the Operational Land Imager (OLI). In December 2009, a decision was made to add a thermal infrared sensor (TIRS) to the mission payload. 
First images from the spacecraft were collected on March 18, 2013.
With Landsat 5 retiring in early 2013, leaving Landsat 7 as the only on-orbit Landsat program satellite, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission will ensure the continued acquisition and availability of Landsat data utilizing a two-sensor payload, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) and the Thermal InfraRed Sensor (TIRS). Respectively, these two instruments will collect image data for nine shortwave bands and two longwave thermal bands. The satellite has been developed with a 5.25 years mission design life however has enough fuel onboard to provide for upwards of ten years of operations.
The Landsat Data Continuity Mission consists of three key mission and science objectives:
- Collect and archive medium resolution (30-meter spatial resolution) multispectral image data affording seasonal coverage of the global landmasses for a period of no less than 5 years;
- Ensure that LDCM data are sufficiently consistent with data from the earlier Landsat missions in terms of acquisition geometry, calibration, coverage characteristics, spectral characteristics, output product quality, and data availability to permit studies of landcover and land-use change over time;
- Distribute LDCM data products to the general public on a nondiscriminatory basis at no cost to the user. 
Providing moderate-resolution imagery, from 15 meters to 100 meters, of Earth’s land surface and polar regions, LDCM will operate in the visible, near-infrared, short wave infrared, and thermal infrared spectrums. LDCM will capture approximately 400 scenes a day, an increase from the 250 scenes a day on Landsat 7. The OLI and TIRS sensors will see improved signal to noise (SNR) radiometric performance, enabling 12-bit quantization of data allowing for more bits for better land cover characterization.
Planned parameters for Landsat Data Continuity Mission standard products 
- Product type: Level 1T (terrain corrected)
- Output format: GeoTIFF
- Pixel size: 15 meters/30 meters/100 meters (panchromatic/multispectral/thermal)
- Map projection: UTM (Polar Stereographic for Antarctica)
- Datum: WGS 84
- Orientation: North-up (map)
- Resampling: Cubic convolution
- OLI: 12 meters circular error, 90-percent confidence
- TIRS: 41 meters circular error, 90-percent confidence
The LDCM spacecraft was built by Orbital Sciences Corporation, under contract to NASA, and uses Orbital's standard LEOStar-3 satellite bus. Orbital is responsible for the design and manufacture of the LDCM spacecraft bus, the integration of the customer-furnished payload instruments, and full observatory testing, including environmental and EMI/EMC.  The spacecraft will supply power, orbit and attitude control, communications, and data storage for OLI and TIRS.
All components, except for the propulsion module, are mounted on the exterior of the primary structure. A deployable solar array will generate power for the spacecraft components and will charge the spacecraft’s 125 amp-hour nickelhydrogen (Ni-H2) battery. A 3.14-terabit solid state data recorder will provide data storage aboard the spacecraft and a X-band antenna will transmit OLI and TIRS data either in real time or played back from the data recorder. The OLI and TIRS are mounted on an optical bench at the forward end of the spacecraft. 
LDCM’s Operational Land Imager (OLI) improves on past Landsat sensors and is being built, under contract to NASA, by Ball Aerospace. OLI uses a technological approach demonstrated by the Advanced Land Imager sensor flown on NASA’s experimental EO-1 satellite. The OLI instrument will employ the use of a pushbroom sensor, compared to the use of whiskbroom sensors that were utilized on earlier Landsat satellites. The use of a pushbroom sensor will align the imaging detector arrays along LDCM's focal plane allowing it to view across the entire swath, 115 miles (185 kilometers) cross-track field of view, as opposed to sweeping across the field of view. With over 7,000 detectors per spectral band, the pushbroom design will result in increased sensitivity, less moving parts, and improved land surface information.
OLI will collect data from nine spectral bands. Seven of the nine bands will be consistent with the Thematic Mapper (TM) and Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) sensors found on earlier Landsat satellites, providing for compatibility with the historical Landsat data, while also improving measurement capabilities. Two new spectral bands, a deep blue coastal / aerosol band and a shortwave-infrared cirrus band, will be collected allowing scientists to mesure water quality and improve detection of high, thin clouds.
|Band 1 - Coastal / Aerosol||0.433 - 0.453 µm||30 m|
|Band 2 - Blue||0.450 - 0.515 µm||30 m|
|Band 3 - Green||0.525 - 0.600 µm||30 m|
|Band 4 - Red||0.630 - 0.680 µm||30 m|
|Band 5 - Near Infrared||0.845 - 0.885 µm||30 m|
|Band 6 - Short Wavelength Infrared||1.560 - 1.660 µm||30 m|
|Band 7 - Short Wavelength Infrared||2.100 - 2.300 µm||30 m|
|Band 8 - Panchromatic||0.500 - 0.680 µm||15 m|
|Band 9 - Cirrus||1.360 - 1.390 µm||30 m|
Thermal InfraRed Sensor
The Thermal InfraRed Sensor (TIRS) was built by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and will allow for thermal imaging in addition to support emerging applications such as evapotranspiration rate measurements for water management. The TIRS data will be registered to OLI data to create radiometrically, geometrically and terrain-corrected 12-bit LDCM data products. The TIRS sensor will also employ, as does the OLI sensor, the use of a pushbroom sensor design in addition to a 185 kilometer cross-track field of view. Data for two long wavelength infrared bands will be collected with TIRS however TIRS only provides Landsat data continuity with one band, Band 10. With TIRS being a late addition to the LDCM satellite, the design life has been relaxed in order to expedite development of the sensor. As such, TIRS only has a three-year design life.
|Band 10 - Long Wavelength Infrared||10.30 - 11.30 µm||100 m|
|Band 11 - Long Wavelength Infrared||11.50 - 12.50 µm||100 m|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Landsat Data Continuity Mission|
- "Fact Sheet - LDCM Earth Image Collection Satellite". Orbital Sciences Corporation. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- "LDCM Spacecraft". NASA. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- "United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches Second NASA Payload in Just 12 Days". United Launch Alliance. 11 February 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- "A Closer Look at LDCM's First Scene". NASA. 03.21.13.
- Krebs, Gunter. "Atlas-5(401)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- Ray, Justin (11 February 2013). "Atlas 5 rocket launch continues legacy of Landsat". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- "Atlas Launch Report - Mission Status Center". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- U.S. Geological Service. "LDCM History". Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- U.S. Geological Survey (July 2012). "Landsat Data Continuity Mission". Rolla Publishing Service Center. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- Orbital Sciences Corporation. "LDCM Fact Sheet". Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- NASA. "LDCM Press Kit". Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- NASA. "Landsat Data Continuity Mission Brochure". Retrieved 12 February 2013.