Press Release

Ball Aerospace Salutes NASA and the USGS on 40 Years of Landsat Observations

By SpaceRef Editor
July 23, 2012
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Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. congratulates NASA and the United States Geological Survey on the 40th anniversary of the Landsat program and its unparalleled global land surface observation record.

The first Earth-observing Landsat satellite launched on July 23, 1972. Since then, Landsat satellites have continuously collected Earth images to create an historical archive unmatched in quality, detail, coverage and length.

Ball Aerospace will provide its first instruments to help maintain Landsat’s legacy when the Operational Land Imager and cryocooler for the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) are flown on the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) mission scheduled to launch in early 2013.

OLI represents a great advancement in Landsat sensor technology by employing a more reliable design to improve performance. OLI’s 14-module detector array enables it to scan with a pushbroom method rather than the older sweeping method. The OLI instrument provides 15-meter (49ft.) panchromatic and 30-meter (98 ft) multi-spectral spatial resolutions along a 185km (115 miles) wide swath allowing the entire globe to be imaged every 16 days. Radiometric performance from OLI and the TIRS instrument will be substantially better than any previous Landsat sensor flown.

“The improved key sensor technology will help scientists achieve a greater understanding of the impact of land use change into a fourth decade,” said Ball Aerospace president and CEO David L. Taylor. “OLI’s sensitivity ultimately provides improved land surface information with fewer moving parts.”

The demand for Landsat data continues to rise, with nearly three million scenes downloaded in 2011.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions for national agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA and other U.S. government and commercial entities. The company develops and manufactures spacecraft, advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation systems and RF solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific applications. For more information visit

Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) is a supplier of high quality packaging for beverage, food and household products customers, and of aerospace and other technologies and services, primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ more than 14,500 people worldwide and reported 2011 sales of more than $8.6 billion. For the latest Ball news and for other company information, please visit

SpaceRef staff editor.