Understanding the Earth from Space

Every day since 1972, Landsat satellites have provided essential measurements to help the Nation make informed decisions about natural resource management, including compiling routine drought assessments; developing wildfire prevention strategies; monitoring land surface changes; evaluating agricultural production; and understanding the Earth’s ecosystem.

The Landsat program represents one of the most powerful and successful partnerships between government and private industry, yielding unparalleled scientific data for researchers and decision makers around the globe.

Each generation of Landsat satellites continues to advance the program’s historic data record. Ball is partnering with NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey and the science community to develop and demonstrate a future Landsat architecture that maintains data integrity, while enabling a more flexible and sustainable approach to land imaging missions.
OLI-2 instrument
OLI-2 instrument

What we did 

Instrument Provider

Ball designed and built the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8, which has demonstrated successful performance and exquisite calibration on orbit since its launch in 2013, enabling new coastal and inland water science. In 2019, Ball delivered a second OLI (OLI-2) instrument for Landsat 9 on schedule and under budget, achieving significant cost savings. Landsat 9 is expected to launch in 2021.

In addition to OLI and OLI-2, we made the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) cryocoolers for Landsat 8 and Landsat 9. The cryocooler chills the TIRS instruments' infrared photo detectors to a frigid 40K.

The instruments on Landsat satellites have evolved significantly over the years, with the Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8 representing the most advanced technology launched to date.

Next Steps

Sustainable Land Imaging

As a partner on the Sustainable Land Imaging-Technology program, Ball has developed and flown innovative airborne instruments that demonstrate paths for potential next-generation Landsat architectures. These instruments have proven that both high performance multispectral and hyperspectral instruments can be built with significantly reduced size and cost.

Contact Us

For details on our land imaging technologies, email us.