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27-Jul-99 | Landsat-7 enters service

Landsat-7 was placed successfully into its proper orbit by a Delta 7920 on Thursday, 15 April, and is in excellent health. The first few weeks were spent on systems checkout and calibration, along with taking a handful of images for public relations purposes. Then, a series of orbital manoeuvres placed Landsat 7 in proximity with Landsat 5, allowing controllers to make simultaneous observations and cross-calibrate the two satellites. In this way they may fully understand the imaging characteristics of the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) aboard the new spacecraft. Full-scale data distribution was expected to be available around 15 July, though no new announcements had been placed on the website as of 27 July. The Landsat program, frequently referred to as “the central pillar of the national remote sensing capability,” has been continuously providing Earth images in visible and infrared wavelengths since 1972.

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