Landsat Spots the ISS
The International Space Station (ISS) flies in an orbit that keeps it about 400 kilometers (250 miles) above the surface of the Earth—roughly the distance between New York and Boston. Meanwhile, Landsat 8, an Earth-observing satellite, cruises at an average altitude of 705 kilometers (438 miles). That means Landsat 8’s Operational Land Imager (OLI) gets a unique view of the Space Station when the orbits of the two spacecraft occasionally align.
On June 19, 2016, they did just that. Landsat 8 acquired images of the ISS amidst a background of clouds over the state of Odisha in eastern India. The images shown here are comprised of nine separate images collected just fractions of a second apart. Each image depicts OLI’s observations of electromagnetic radiation at slightly different wavelengths, or spectral bands. The offsets, or motion, in each image is due to the relative speed of the two spacecraft, the altitude of Landsat 8, and the fact that the images were taken at slightly different times.
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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA's Earth Observatory
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