Have you ever wondered what it would be like to soar like a satellite, watching the world pass beneath you? The dream is elusive (except for a few astronauts), but through imagery from the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM), we can take a vicarious flight. Check out the video…
Thanks to the Operational Land Imager (OLI), the view is crisper than what our own eyes would see.
After two months of testing and calibration in space, LDCM fired its propulsion system and ascended to its final orbit—705 kilometers (438 miles) above Earth’s surface—in mid-April 2013. One week later, the newest satellite in the Landsat family scanned a 185-kilometer (120-mile) wide swath of land from northern Russia to South Africa.
View full-screen for maximum effect:
That flight path on April 19, 2013—depicted on a globe here—afforded us a chance to assemble a flyover view of what LDCM saw, including clouds, haze, and varying angles of sunlight. The full mosaic and animation stretches more than 9,000 kilometers (6,000 miles) and includes 56 adjoining, natural-color scenes stitched together into a seamless swath.
Orbiting at roughly 27,000 kilometers (17,000 miles) per hour, LDCM covered that distance in 20 minutes. Our full animation moves a bit faster, taking us 9,000 kilometers (6,000 miles) in 15 minutes. (Be sure to turn on the full-screen view.) Below you can watch some highlights of the flyover, or you can explore the swath at your own pace on our GigaPan and Google Earth versions.