Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) Orbits

  • Released Monday, April 16, 2012
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The Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM), also to be named Landsat 8 after its scheduled launch in February 2013, will be the eighth in the series of Landsat satellites. Since 1972, Landsat satellites have been observing and measuring Earth's continental and coastal landscapes at 15 to 30 meter resolution, where human impacts and natural changes can be monitored and characterized over time.

This animation portrays how the LDCM satellite will orbit the Earth 13 times per day at an altitude of 705 km collecting landcover data. With a cross-track width of 185 km, the satellite will completely cover the globe in a 16 day period compiling a total of 233 orbits. A day number and the elapsed time are shown to clearly depict the passage of time which starts slowly in the beginning and increases to day-by-day steps at the end of the animation. The terrain is exaggerated by 6 times during the first day portrayed, but is increased to 12 times when the camera pulls out to a global view. An artificial orbit trail is shown following the spacecraft to indicate its position when the satellite itself is too small to be visible.


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio The Blue Marble data is courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC).

Release date

This page was originally published on Monday, April 16, 2012.
This page was last updated on Tuesday, November 14, 2023 at 12:02 AM EST.

Datasets used in this visualization

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