Landsat 3

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Landsat 3
Artist's rendering of Landsat 3.
Mission type Earth imaging
Operator NASA
COSPAR ID 1978-026A[1]
SATCAT no. 10702[1]
Mission duration 5 years, 6 months, 2 days
Spacecraft properties
Bus Nimbus
Launch mass 960.0 kilograms (2,116.4 lb)[2]
Start of mission
Launch date March 5, 1978 (1978-03-05)
Rocket Delta 2910
Launch site Vandenberg AFB SLC-2W
End of mission
Deactivated September 7, 1983
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Sun-synchronous
Perigee 818 kilometers (508 mi)
Apogee 918 kilometers (570 mi)
Inclination 99.1 degrees
Period 103.16 minutes
Epoch May 15, 1990[1]

Landsat 3 is the third satellite of the Landsat program. It was launched on March 5, 1978, with the primary goal of providing a global archive of satellite imagery. Unlike later Landsat satellites, Landsat 3 was managed solely by NASA. Landsat 3 decommissioned on September 7, 1983, beyond its design life of one year.[3]


Landsat 3 (originally designated Landsat C) was the third satellite launched as a part of the Landsat program.[3]

Satellite design[edit]


Landsat 3 was built by General Electric Aerospace.[3]

Sensors and operation[edit]

Landsat 3 had essentially the same design as Landsat 2. It carried a Multi-Spectral Scanner, which had a maximum 75 meters (246 ft) resolution. Unlike the previous two Landsat missions, a thermal band was built into Landsat 3's Multi-Spectral Scanner, but this instrument failed shortly after the satellite was deployed.[4] Landsat 3 was placed into a polar orbit at about 920 kilometers (570 mi), and took 18 days to cover the entire Earth's surface.



Landsat 3 was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. It was placed into a sun-synchronous, near polar orbit at an inclination of 99.1 degrees and an altitude of 570 miles (920 km). Landsat 3 completed 14 orbits of the Earth daily, and its cycle repeated every 18 days.[3]


The satellite was placed in standby mode on March 31, 1983.[3]


  1. ^ a b c McDowell, Jonathan. "Satellite Catalog". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved March 18, 2014. 
  2. ^ "NSSDC Master Catalog". NASA. Retrieved March 18, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e United States Geological Survey (August 9, 2006). "Landsat 3 History". Retrieved June 29, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Landsat 3". NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. March 13, 2014. Retrieved March 18, 2014.