The LandSat 5, an Earth imaging satellite that’s been orbiting for nearly 30 years, will be back on the ground within the next two months, according to a U.S. Geological Survey press release.
The satellite outlived its expected lifespan of five years with the help from USGS and NASA technicians and engineers, who maintained and repaired the satellite while it was in space. A gyroscope failure on the satellite was the final blow that forced decommission.
Landsat 5 helped scientists observe land areas for research and studies. The satellite photographed many historic environmental events including the Chernobyl disaster and the Mount Saint Helens eruption.
LandSat 8 will be launched by NASA in February.
Image: This natural-color Landsat 5 time series shows the progression of deforestation in Rondonia, Brazil, from 1986 to 2006. (Credit: NASA/USGS)