Landsat 3 satellite, 1978.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
This satellite, shown during ground tests, was the third in the series to demonstrate the feasibility of systematic remote sensing of the Earth. It was launched on 5 March 1978. The operational system began with the launch of Landsat 4 in July 1982. 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.