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Comparison of remote sensing satellites

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A variety of remote sensing systems exist, for which the specification is distributed among a variety of websites from data providers, satellite operators and manufacturers. In order to choose a data product for a given project, a remote sensing data user must be aware of the different products and their applications. The table below gives users an overview of major remote sensing systems and datasets and summarizes their applications and systems.

Summary Table[edit]

Data Product

Provider

Orbital Height

Spatial Resolution

Swath Width

Pass Over Time

Date Range of Acquisition

Spectral Coverage

Access and Restrictions

Data Use

Sources

Landsat 5 TM

NASA/USGS

705 km

Sun-synchronous

30 m

120 m

185 km

Every 16 days

Equator at ~09h45 (local time)

since March 1, 1984

Note: First Landsat Mission in 1972

B1: 0.45-0.52 μm (30 m)

B2: 0.52-0.60 μm (30 m)

B3: 0.63-0.69 μm (30 m)

B4: 0.76-0.90 μm (30 m)

B5: 1.55-1.75 μm (30 m)

B6: 10.4-12.5 μm (120 m) (IR)

B7: 2.08-2.35 μm (30 m)

Free access, use and redistribution;

oceanography, aerosols, bathymetry, vegetation types, peak vegetation, biomass content analysis, moisture analysis, thermal mapping, mineral deposit identification

[1][2]

Landsat 7 ETM+

NASA/USGS

705 km

Sun-synchronous

15 m

30 m

60 m

183 km

Every 16 days

Equator at ~10h00 (local time)

since April 15, 1999

B1: 0.45-0.515 μm (30 m)

B2: 0.525-0.605 μm (30 m)

B3: 0.63-0.69 μm (30 m)

B4: 0.75-0.90 μm (30 m)

B5: 1.55-1.75 μm (30 m)

B6: 10.4-12.5 μm (60 m)

B7: 2.09-2.35 μm (30 m)

B8: 0.52-0.9 μm (15 m)

Free access, use and redistribution;

oceanography, aerosols, bathymetry, vegetation types, peak vegetation, biomass content analysis, moisture analysis, thermal mapping, mineral deposit identification

[1][2]

Landsat 8

OLI (B1-B9)

TIRS (B10-B11)

NASA/USGS

705 km

Sun-synchronous

15 m

30 m

60 m

100 m

185 km

Every 16 days

Equator at ~10h00 (local time)

since

February 11, 2013

B1: 0.433–0.453 μm (30 m)

B2: 0.450–0.515 μm (30 m)

B3: 0.525–0.600 μm (30 m)

B4: 0.630–0.680 μm (30 m)

B5: 0.845–0.885 μm (30 m)

B6: 1.560–1.660 μm (60 m)

B7: 2.100–2.300 μm (30 m)

B8: 0.500–0.680 μm (15 m)

B9: 1.360–1.390 μm (30 m)

B10: 10.6-11.2 μm (100 m) (IR)

B11: 11.5-12.5 μm (100 m) (IR)

Free access, use and redistribution;

oceanography, aerosols, bathymetry, vegetation types, peak vegetation, biomass content analysis, moisture analysis, cloud cover analysis, thermal mapping, soil moisture estimation

[1][2][3]

AVHRR/3

Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer

NOAA/USGS

830–870 km

Sun-synchronous

1090 m

833 km

Twice daily; entire planet

since May 1998

AVHRR/1 (1978)

AVHRR/2 (1981; continuous data since 1981)

B1: 0.58 - 0.68 μm (1.09 km)

B2: 0.725 - 1.00 μm (1.09 km)

B3A: 1.58 - 1.64 μm (1.09 km)

B3B: 3.55 - 3.93 μm (1.09 km)

B4: 10.30 - 11.30 μm (1.09 km)

B5: 11.50 - 12.50 μm (1.09 km)

Free access, use and redistribution;

cloud and surface mapping, land-water bounds, recognition of snow and ice, sea surface temperatures and cloud cover analysis at night

[4][5][6]

MODIS

Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer

NASA

705 km

Sun-synchronous

250 m (B1-B2)

500 m (B3-B7)

1000 m (B8-B36)

2330 km

Daily; equator at ~10h30 and 13h30 (local time)

Terra: December 18, 1999

Aqua: May 4, 2002

B1: 620 - 670 nm

B2: 841 - 876 nm

B3: 459 - 479 nm

B4: 545 - 565 nm

B5: 1230 - 1250 nm

B6: 1628 - 1652 nm

B7: 2105 - 2155 nm

B8: 405 - 420 nm

B9: 438 - 448 nm

B10: 483 - 493 nm

B11: 526 - 536 nm

B12: 546 - 556 nm

B13: 662 - 672 nm

B14: 673 - 683 nm

B15: 743 - 753 nm

B16: 862 - 877 nm

B17: 890 - 920 nm

B18: 931 - 941 nm

B19: 915 - 965 nm

B20: 3.660 - 3.840 μm

B21: 3.929 - 3.989 μm

B22: 3.929 - 3.989 μm

B23: 4.020 - 4.080 μm

B24: 4.433 - 4.498 μm

B25: 4.482 - 4.549 μm

B26: 1.360 - 1.390 μm

B27: 6.535 - 6.895 μm

B28: 7.175 - 7.475 μm

B29: 8.400 - 8.700 μm

B30: 9.580 - 9.880 μm

B31: 10.780 - 11.280 μm

B32: 11.770 - 12.270 μm

B33: 13.185 - 13.485 μm

B34: 13.485 - 13.785 μm

B35: 13.785 - 14.085 μm

B36: 14.085 - 14.385 μm

Free access, use and redistribution;

aerosols, land and cloud boundaries and properties, ocean biology, biogeochemistry, atm. water vapour, sea surface and atmospheric temperature, cloud analysis

[7][8]

QuickBird

Digital Globe

482 km

450 km

Sun-synchronous

65 cm B/W

2.62 m RGBiR

61 cm B/W

2.44 m RGBiR

16.8 km –

18 km

Every 2.4-5.9 days, equator at 10h30 (local time)

since October 18, 2001

B/W: 405-1053 nm

R: 430 - 545 nm

G: 466 - 620 nm

B: 590 - 710 nm

NIR: 715 - 918 nm

Data needs to be purchased from DigitalGlobe or a commercial reseller; if imagery is not available in archive, special request can be made

mapping, change detection, planning (engineering, natural resources, urban, infrastructure), land-use, EIA, tourism, military, crop management, environmental monitoring

[9][10][11]

GOES

Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite

NOAA

35 790 km

Geostationary

1 km

4 km

8 km

Pacific Ocean, Americas and Atlantic (160°E to 20°W)

captures and sends data at various intervals; up to 8 per hour in the Continental US

First Mission 1978

B1 (Visible) (1 km)

B2 (Shortwave) (4 km)

B3 (Moisture) (8 km (4 km GOES 12/13/14/15))

B4 (Longwave 1) (4 km)

B5 and 6 (Longwave 2) (4 km)

GOES also has remote sensing equipment to detect space weather.

Free access, use and redistribution;

weather tracking, water vapour analysis, meteorology and atmospheric science

[12][13][14]

Ikonos

Digital Globe

681 km

Sun-synchronous

80 cm B/W

3.2 m RBGiR

11.3 km

every 3 days

launch September 24, 1999

B/W: 445-900 nm

B: 445-516 nm

G: 506-595 nm

R: 632-698 nm

NiR: 757-853 nm

Data needs to be purchased from DigitalGlobe or a commercial reseller; if imagery is not available in archive, special request can be made

mapping, change detection, planning (engineering, natural resources, urban, infrastructure), land-use, EIA, tourism, military, crop management, environmental monitoring

[11][15]

SPOT

Satellite pour l’Observation de la Terre

EADS Astrium

694 km

Sun-synchronous

2.5 m

5 m

10 m

20 m

60 km

every 1–3 days

SPOT1 launched in 1986

SPOT6 launched in 2012

B/W: 0.450-0.745 μm

R: 0.625-0.695 μm

G: 0.530-0.590 μm

B: 0.450-0.520 μm

NiR: 0.760-0.890 μm

Data needs to be purchased from EADS Astrium; if imagery is not available in archive, special request can be made

mapping, change detection, planning (engineering, natural resources, urban, infrastructure), land-use, EIA, tourism, military, crop management, environmental monitoring

[11][16][17]

RADARSAT

Canadian Space Agency

MDA

RADARSAT1

793–821 km

RADARSAT-2

798 km

RADARSAT Constellation

592,7 km

8–100 m

3x1m–100x100m

3x1m–100x100m

45–500 km

18–500 m

5-500 km

14 (14,92 Constellation) orbits per day; at equator: 6h00 and 18h00 (local)

RADARSAT 1 launched on November 4, 1995

RADARSAT 2 launched on December 14, 2007

RADARSAT Constellation to be launched in 2018

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)

Data needs to be purchased from MDA for commercial purposes; available for research through the SOAR partnership from MDA and the Government of Canada

environmental monitoring, ice monitoring, marine surveillance, disaster management, hydrology, mapping, geology, agriculture and forestry

[18][19]

ASTER

Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflectance Radiometer

NASA

Government of Japan

705 km

Sun-synchronous

15–90 m

60 km

Daily; equator at ~10h30 (local)

since December 18, 1999 (on Terra)

B1: 0.520–0.600 μm (15 m)

B2: 0.630–0.690 μm (15 m)

B3: 0.760–0.860 μm (15 m)

B4: 0.760–0.860 μm (15 m)

B5: 1.600–1.700 μm (30 m)

B6: 2.145–2.185 μm (30 m)

B7: 2.185–2.225 μm (30 m)

B8: 2.235–2.285 μm (30 m)

B9: 2.295–2.365 μm (30 m)

B10: 2.360–2.430 μm (30 m)

B11: 8.125–8.475 μm (90 m)

B12: 8.475–8.825 μm (90 m)

B13: 8.925–9.275 μm (90 m)

B14: 10.250–10.950 μm (90 m)

B15: 10.950–11.650 μm (90 m)

Data needs to be purchased for commercial purposes;

Educational use and NASA-supported research permitted

vegetation, ecosystem dynamics, hazard and disaster monitoring, change detection, earth science, land cover analysis

[20][21][22]

Sentinel-2 MSI

ESA

705 km

Sun-synchronous

10 m

20 m

60 m

185 km

Every 5 days (combined satellite constellation)

Equator at ~010h30 (local time)

since June 23, 2015

B1: ~442.7 nm (60 m) (Coastal Aerosol)

B2: ~492.4 nm (10 m) (Blue)

B3: ~559.8 nm (10 m) (Green)

B4: ~664.6 nm (10 m) (Red)

B5: ~704.1 nm (20 m) (Red Edge)

B6: ~740.5 nm (20 m) (Red Edge)

B7: ~782.8 nm (20 m) (Red Edge)

B8: ~832.8 nm (10 m) (NIR)

B8a: ~864.7 nm (20 m) (Narrow NIR)

B9: ~945.1 nm (60 m) (Water Vapor)

B10: ~1373.5 nm (60 m) (SWIR - Cirrus)

B11: ~1613.7 nm (20 m) (SWIR)

B12: ~2202.4 nm (20 m) (SWIR)

Free access, use and redistribution;

oceanography, aerosols, bathymetry, vegetation types, peak vegetation, biomass content analysis, moisture analysis, thermal mapping, mineral deposit identification

[23][24]

Sources[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 NASA. Technical Details. Landsat Science. [Online] September 18, 2013. [Cited: September 19, 2013.] http://landsat.gsfc.nasa.gov/?p=5081.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 USGS. Frequently Asked Questions about the Landsat Missions. USGS Landsat Missions. [Online] August 29, 2013. [Cited: September 19, 2013.] http://landsat.usgs.gov/tools_faq.php.
  3. —. Landsat 8. [Online] 2013. [Cited: September 19, 2013.] http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2013/3060/pdf/fs2013-3060.pdf.
  4. —. Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Sensor Characteristics. Global Land 1-KM AVHRR Project. [Online] June 23, 2008. [Cited: September 19, 2013.] http://edc2.usgs.gov/1KM/avhrr_sensor.php.
  5. NOAA. Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer - AVHRR. NOAA Satellite Information System. [Online] March 28, 2013. [Cited: September 19, 2013.] http://noaasis.noaa.gov/NOAASIS/ml/avhrr.html.
  6. United States Department of the Interior. AVHRR. National Atlas. [Online] January 14, 2013. [Cited: September 19, 2013.] http://nationalatlas.gov/articles/mapping/a_avhrr.html.
  7. NASA. Specifications. MODIS Web. [Online] [Cited: September 19, 2013.] http://modis.gsfc.nasa.gov/about/specifications.php.
  8. USGS/NASA. MODIS Overview. LP DAAC. [Online] August 19, 2013. [Cited: September 19, 2013.] https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/products/modis_overview.
  9. Satellite Imaging Corporation. QuickBird Satellite Imagery and Satellite System Specifications. Satellite Imaging Corporation. [Online] 2013. [Cited: September 19, 2013.] http://www.satimagingcorp.com/satellite-sensors/quickbird.html.
  10. DigitalGlobe. QuickBird - Data Sheet. DigitalGlobe. [Online] [Cited: September 19, 2013.] "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-06-19. Retrieved 2013-10-20. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link).
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 GeoImage. Satellite Overview. GeoImage. [Online] 2012. [Cited: September 19, 2013.] http://www.geoimage.com.au/satellites/satellite-overview.
  12. 12. NOAA. GOES - Introduction. NOAA CLASS. [Online] [Cited: September 19, 2013.] http://www.class.ngdc.noaa.gov/data_available/goes/index.htm.
  13. NASA. Overview of the GOES Mission. GOES I-M DataBook. 1st Revision. Greenbelt : NASA, 1996.
  14. —. Three Classes of Orbit. NASA Earth Observatory. [Online] [Cited: September 19, 2013.] http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/OrbitsCatalog/page2.php.
  15. DigitalGlobe. IKONOS - Data Sheet. DigitalGlobe. [Online] June 2013. [Cited: September 19, 2013.] http://www.digitalglobe.com/sites/default/files/DG_IKONOS_DS.pdf.
  16. EADS Astrium. Astrium GEO-Information Services SPOT International Price List. EADS Astrium. [Online] 2013. [Cited: September 19, 2013.] http://www2.astrium-geo.com/files/pmedia/public/r146_9_pricelist_spot_en_2012.pdf.
  17. —. Technical Information about the SPOT Satellites. EADS Astrium. [Online] 2013. [Cited: September 19, 2013.] http://www.astrium-geo.com/en/191-spot-technical-information.
  18. Canadian Space Agency. Satellite Characteristics. Canadian Space Agency. [Online] January 21, 2011. [Cited: September 19, 2013.] http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/satellites/radarsat/radarsat-tableau.asp#r1.
  19. MDA. Geospatial Services International. MDA Essential Information Solutions. [Online] 2012. [Cited: September 19, 2013.] http://gs.mdacorporation.com/.
  20. USGS/NASA. ASTER Data Access Policies. LP DAAC. [Online] August 19, 2013. [Cited: September 19, 2013.] https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/products/aster_policies.
  21. —. ASTER Overview. LP DAAC. [Online] August 19, 2013. [Cited: September 19, 2013.] https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/products/aster_overview.
  22. NASA. Aster. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. [Online] July 9, 2004. [Cited: September 19, 2013.] http://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov/eos.asp.
  23. ESA. Resolution and Swath. ESA. [Online] [Cited: May 4, 2021.] https://sentinel.esa.int/web/sentinel/missions/sentinel-2/instrument-payload/resolution-and-swath.
  24. ESA. Sentinel-2. ESA. [Online] August 19, 2013. [Cited: May 4, 2021.] https://sentinel.esa.int/web/sentinel/missions/sentinel-2.


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