Tuesday, February 12, 2013

NASA Breaks World Record!

Back on March 1st, 1984, NASA launched Landsat 5 as a backup of Landsat 4.  The satellites were identical and were put in place to capture photos of Earth, but after almost 30 years later, Landsat 5 has broken a record.

Guinness World Records confirmed that Landsat 5 holds the record for "Longest operating Earth observation satellite" with 28 years and 10 months of active use.  The satellite had its share of issues throughout it's life, with 20 technical faults and it even lost the ability to store data on-board.  Through these issues Landsat 5 still transmitted useable data for almost 30 years. 

Landsat 5 was decommissioned on December 21st, 2012, 2 of the three gyroscopes stopped working and when the backup failed too, NASA pulled the plug.  Landsat 5 made 150,000 orbits, and transmitted 2.5 million pictures back to Earth.  It even outlived its replacement Landsat 6, now NASA relies on Landsat 7 for its Earth imagery. 

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