Artist’s rendition of Landsat 5.
Credit: USGS

Image of Mount Saint Helens: The 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption was one of the most significant natural disasters in the U.S. in the past half-century. Landsat captured the extent of, and recovery from, the destruction. Credit: NASA/USGS

Landsat 5 Sets Guinness World Record For ‘Longest Operating Earth Observation Satellite’


Landsat 5 successfully set the new Guinness World Records title for ‘Longest-operating Earth observation satellite’ as stated in an e-mail from Guinness World Records sent to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Outliving its three-year design life, Landsat 5 delivered high-quality, global data of Earth’s land surface for 28 years and 10 months.

NASA launched Landsat 5 from Vandenberg Air Force base in Lompoc, Calif. on March 1, 1984. Landsat 5 was designed and built at the same time as Landsat 4 and carried the same two instruments: the Multispectral Scanner System (MSS) and the Thematic Mapper (TM).

Managed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as part of the Landsat Program, it completed over 150,000 orbits and sent back more than 2.5 million images of Earth’s surface. On Dec. 21, 2012 the USGS announced Landsat 5 would be decommissioned in the coming months after the failure of a redundant gyroscope. The satellite carries three gyroscopes for attitude control and needs two to maintain control.

“This is the end of an era for a remarkable satellite, and the fact that it flew for almost three decades is a testament to the NASA engineers who launched it and the USGS team who kept it flying well beyond its expected lifetime,” said Anne Castle, Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science in a press release.

Read more: NASA – Landsat 5 Sets Guinness World Record For 'Longest Operating Earth Observation Satellite'.

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