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Landsat Next


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Landsat Next is on the horizon—the new mission will not only ensure continuity of the longest space-based record of Earth’s land surface, it will fundamentally transform the breadth and depth of actionable information freely available to end users.

Landsat Next will also provide new capabilities for the next generation of Landsat users. The enhanced spatial and temporal resolution of the 26-band “superspectral” Landsat Next constellation will unlock new applications for water quality, crop production and plant stress, climate and snow dynamics, soil health and other essential environmental variables.

Landsat Next also continues Landsat’s decades-long data record of multispectral imagery, which affords global, synoptic, and repetitive coverage of Earth’s land surfaces at a scale where natural and human-induced changes can be detected, differentiated, characterized, and monitored over time.

Landsat Next Defined

Landsat Next will be a constellation of three observatories sent into orbit on the same launch vehicle, which will provide an improved temporal revisit for monitoring dynamic land and water surfaces such as vegetation, wildfire burns, reservoirs and waterways, coastal and wetland regions, glaciers, and dynamic ice sheets.

Landsats 8 and 9 measure 11 spectral bands from the visible to thermal infrared wavelengths. Landsat Next will have 26 bands; this includes refined versions of the 11 Landsat “heritage” bands, five bands with similar spatial and spectral characteristics to the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 bands to allow easier merging of data products, and ten new spectral bands to support emerging Landsat applications.

With these improvements, Landsat Next will collect on average about 20 times more data than its predecessor, Landsat 9, and continue to provide free and open data access for all users.

The mission is planned to launch in late 2030.


The Path to Landsat Next

Following the successful launch of Landsat 8 and during the development of Landsat 9, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and NASA assembled a team of experts from within both agencies for a Joint Agency Sustainable Land Imaging Architecture Study Team to evaluate how to inform an acquisition strategy for a follow-on mission that would best satisfy the diverse and evolving user needs collect by the USGS (Wu et al., 2019).

The highest-recommended architecture was a small constellation of “superspectral” space-based sensors that would improve the spectral, spatial, and temporal capabilities. Landsat Next data would be sufficiently consistent with data from the earlier Landsat missions to permit studies of land cover and land use change over multi-decadal period.

Why Landsat Next

Landsat is a civilian satellite program that was initiated to map, monitor, and manage Earth’s natural resources. It has provided an unbiased and unvarnished history of the planet and its changing conditions during the past half-century.

Landsat data are critical for mapping natural resources and impact numerous society benefits such as food security, water use, disaster response and more. Landsat also provide essential data for monitoring the ecosystems, water quality, land cover and land use change, and an unparalleled data record of the environment and climate change.

Landsat has been the cornerstone of Earth observing for more than half a century, and Landsat Next will add to this record for the next generation:


Landsat Next will provide enhancements to Landsat “heritage” data:

  • Improved temporal revisit for monitoring dynamic land and water surfaces such as vegetation and crop phenology, burn severity, water use and quality, coastal and wetland change, glacier, and ice sheet dynamics.
  • Improved spatial resolution for agricultural monitoring, ecological monitoring, urban studies, water resources management and other applications.

Landsat Next will provide new capabilities for the next generation of Landsat users:

  • New spectral bands and refined bands will support new and evolving applications, including surface water quality, cryospheric science, geology, and agricultural applications including crop management and water consumption.
  • The new bands will have similar spatial/spectral characteristics to those of the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite, to allow easier merging of data products.


Landsat Next | Landsat Science (nasa.gov)

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