The Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) with two pushbroom Earth-imaging sensors, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) and the Thermal InfraRed Sensor (TIRS), was launched on February 11, 2013. Its on-orbit check out period or commissioning phase lasted about 90 days. During this phase the spacecraft and its instruments were activated, operationally tested and their performance verified. In addition, during this period, the spacecraft was temporarily placed in an intermediary orbit where it drifted relative to the Landsat-7 spacecraft, providing near simultaneous imaging for about 3 days, allowing data comparison and cross calibration. After this tandem-imaging period, LDCM was raised to its final altitude and placed in the position formerly occupied by Landsat-5, i.e., 8 days out of phase with Landsat-7, with about a 10:10 AM equatorial crossing time. At the end of commissioning, the satellite was transferred to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), officially renamed Landsat-8 and declared operational. Data were made available to the public beginning May 31, 2013. The performance of the satellite and two instruments has generally been excellent as evidenced in the quality of the distributed data products.
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Brian L. Markham ; James C. Storey and James R. Irons
Landsat Data Continuity Mission, now Landsat-8: six months on-orbit
", Proc. SPIE 8866, Earth Observing Systems XVIII, 88661B (September 23, 2013); doi:10.1117/12.2025290; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.2025290