Concerns about Landsat 5 failure

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Abstract

An electronic component on board the Landsat 5 Earth observation satellite has indicated signs of impending failure, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has stopped acquiring images from the satellite, the agency announced on 18 November. USGS engineers have suspended imaging activities for 90 days to explore options for restoring image transmissions from the satellite, which was launched in 1984 and has operated long beyond the 3 years it was designed to last. “This anticipated decline of Landsat 5 provides confirmation of the importance of the timely launch of the next Landsat mission and the need for an operational and reliable National Land Imaging System,” said Anne Castle, assistant secretary for water and science at the U.S. Department of the Interior. USGS is part of the Interior department. Landsat 7, launched in 1999 with a 5-year design life, remains in orbit. Landsat 8, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, has a January 2013 scheduled launch.

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