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is the third satellite
In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an object which has been placed into orbit by human endeavour. Such objects are sometimes called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as the Moon....
of the Landsat program
The Landsat program is the longest running enterprise for acquisition of satellite imagery of Earth. On July 26, 1972 the Earth Resources Technology Satellite was launched. This was eventually renamed to Landsat. The most recent, Landsat 7, was launched on April 15, 1999. The instruments on the...
. It was launched on March 5, 1978, with the primary goal of providing a global archive of satellite imagery (satellite data are called images and not photos because they are not just reflected light exposure, but recordings of radiative electromagnetic energy fluxes of surface materials). Unlike later Landsats, Landsat 3 was managed solely by NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...
. Landsat 3 is no longer in operation, having been decommissioned on March 21, 1983, far beyond its designed life expectancy of one year.
Landsat 3 had essentially the same design as Landsat 2
Landsat 2 is the second satellite of the Landsat program. The spacecraft originally carried a designation of ERTS-B but was renamed "Landsat 2" prior to its launch on January 22, 1975...
. It carried a Multi-Spectral Scanner, which had a maximum 75m resolution
Optical resolution describes the ability of an imaging system to resolve detail in the object that is being imaged.An imaging system may have many individual components including a lens and recording and display components...
. Unlike the previous two Landsat missions a thermal band was built into Landsat 3, but this instrument failed shortly after the satellite was deployed. Landsat 3 was placed into a polar orbit
A polar orbit is an orbit in which a satellite passes above or nearly above both poles of the body being orbited on each revolution. It therefore has an inclination of 90 degrees to the equator...
at about 920 kilometers, and took 18 days to cover the entire Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...