The Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS-1), 1972.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
This satellite with its solar panels deployed is shown after tests at the General Electric plant at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. ERTS-1, which soon became known as Landsat 1, was launched on 23rd July 1972. The first three Landsats were modified Nimbus meteorological satellites. The Landsat programme is an ongoing one. Landsat 7, launched in 1999 is able to view the Earth's surface at a resolution of 15 metres, and the next satellite, Landsat 8, is scheduled to be launched into orbit in 2005. The satellites are used to provide information for map making, studies of land use, pollution monitoring and mineral prospecting.