Landsat 5

LandsatNASA launches Earth resource observation satellite Landsat 5, virtually identical to the Landsat 4 satellite launched in 1982. Like Landsat 4, Landsat 5 is capable of sending real-time data to Earth through the Tracking & Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) system. Landsat 5 becomes the longest-operating Earth observation satellite, outliving its anticipated three-year design life by a factor of ten and not becoming inoperable until 2013; by the time it was shut down, Landsats 7 and 8 had been launched. Among the events Landsat 5 witnessed from orbit were a tsunami that killed nearly a quarter million people along Indonesia’s coastlines in 2004, and the 1986 meltdown of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in the Soviet Union.