Landsat 5, the quarter-century-old satellite workhorse, is back in its traces.
When the historically reliable earth observation satellite began tumbling in space on the morning of August 13, engineers from the USGS Landsat Flight Operations Team immediately started processes to protect the satellite and to restore capability.
The spacecraft was stabilized quickly and recovery operations initiated. During the following two days, the sensor was not used and no data were collected. By August 17, the systems were back in order and full capability was restored.
Landsat 5 continues to collect data. In fact, the one-millionth download of free Landsat data – the counting started after a policy of free downloads began in October 2008 – was a clear Landsat 5 image acquired August 17 of the Grand Canyon in the southwestern U.S.
The cause of the anomaly is still being investigated.
Further information about the Landsat program, including satellite status, can be found at http://landsat.usgs.gov.