Summary of the: 2015 ‘Summer’ Landsat Science Team Meeting

Summary of the

2015 ‘Summer’ Landsat Science Team Meeting

7th- 9th July 2015

EROS Data Centre, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

The following is a brief summary of the outcomes of the 2015 Summer Landsat Science team meeting, courtesy of Dr Leo Lymburner, Geoscience Australia:

Landsat Mission Details

  • The proposed thermal free flyer that was to provide a back up to the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) instrument / augment the Sentinel 2 mission has been shelved in favour of an earlier launch of Landsat 9. 
  • Landsat 9 is now in the planning phases and a project office has been established.  Jeff Masek is the NASA Project Scientist and Jim Nelson is the USGS Project Scientist for Landsat 9.  Landsat 9 is currently scheduled for launch in 2023, but there’s a strong push to bring the launch date forward to 2021.
  • Landsat 9 will be a clone of Landsat 8 in terms of sensor design.  However the stray light issue that affects that TIRS (thermal) sensor will be addressed. 
  • The team was also asked whether there was a case for moving from 12 bit to 14 bit data.  Landsat 8 currently acquires at 14 bits but doesn’t transmit the two least significant bits (typically at the lower end of the radiometric range).    If members of the AEOCCG have specific applications that will benefit from an increase to 14 bit data please forward them to by Friday 31 July, to be collated and provided to the Landsat Science Team as evidence to support the shift to a 14 bit depth for Landsat 9.  Any publications that describe the impact of bit depth on low-signal applications such as sea grass/benthic substrate mapping, shallow water bathymetry/optical water quality mapping would be ideal.
  • Landsat 7 is currently operating nominally and has fuel reserves that will support operations out to 2020, however the local overpass time is likely to drift earlier which may be limits its usefulness for applications that are sensitive to signal to noise considerations or low solar incidence angles.
  • The Landsat Advisory Group are seeking input to a requirements analysis forLandsat 10.

Sentinel Mission Details

Sentinel 2 is continuing toperform it’s on-orbit check out routines, and the European Space Agency representativeshowed some of the initial imagery captured.  The start of systematic acquisition of Sentinel 2 data over Australia is still to be decided but will be no later than September 2016.