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Author: Wulder, Michael A. and White, Joanne C. and Masek, Jeffrey G. and Dwyer, John and Roy, David P.

Continuity of Landsat observations: Short term considerations

Journal: Remote Sensing of Environment
Volume: 115
Year: 2011
Number: 2
Pages: 747--751


As of writing in mid-2010, both Landsat-5 and -7 continue to function, with sufficient fuel to enable data collection until the launch of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) scheduled for December of 2012. Failure of one or both of Landsat-5 or -7 may result in a lack of Landsat data for a period of time until the 2012 launch. Although the potential risk of a component failure increases the longer the sensor's design life is exceeded, the possible gap in Landsat data acquisition is reduced with each passing day and the risk of Landsat imagery being unavailable diminishes for all except a handful of applications that are particularly data demanding. Advances in Landsat data compositing and fusion are providing opportunities to address issues associated with Landsat-7 SLC-off imagery and to mitigate a potential acquisition gap through the integration of imagery from different sensors. The latter will likely also provide short-term, regional solutions to application-specific needs for the continuity of Landsat-like observations. Our goal in this communication is not to minimize the community's concerns regarding a gap in Landsat observations, but rather to clarify how the current situation has evolved and provide an up-to-date understanding of the circumstances, implications, and mitigation options related to a potential gap in the Landsat data record.

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