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Fact Sheet 2005–3130

Landsat: A Global Land-Observing Project

By U.S. Geological Survey

Archived Publication—Most of the information contained in this publication is no longer current and is not expected to be updated.

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (5.8 MB)Summary

Landsat represents the world’s longest continuously acquired collection of space-based land remote sensing data. The Landsat Project is a joint initiative of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) designed to gather Earth resource data from space. NASA developed and launched the spacecrafts, while the USGS handles the operations, maintenance, and management of all ground data reception, processing, archiving, product generation, and distribution.

Landsat satellites have been collecting images of the Earth’s surface for more than thirty years. Landsat’s Global Survey Mission is to repeatedly capture images of the Earth’s land mass, coastal boundaries, and coral reefs, and to ensure that sufficient data are acquired to support the observation of changes on the Earth’s land surface and surrounding environment. NASA launched the first Landsat satellite in 1972, and the most recent one, Landsat 7, in 1999. Landsats 5 and 7 continue to capture hundreds of additional images of the Earth’s surface each day. These images provide a valuable resource for people who work in agriculture, geology, forestry, education, regional planning, mapping, and global change research.

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Suggested citation:

U.S. Geological Survey, 2005, Aerial Photography Summary Record System: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2005-3130, 4 p., available only online at

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