Why A Project NASA Rejected Became Their Longest Running Satellite Program

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Landsat 9 launched yesterday becoming the latest installment in the program which began in the 1960’s and the funny thing is NASA initially didn’t want to do it and there’s been attempts to spin it off as a commercial venture. However the program is easily the best investment in space technology the US has made, helping steer trillions of dollars worth of decisions on agriculture, land use, development and more.

  1. movax20h

    Landsat was probably the program that got me hooked into being a space enthusiast the most. I remember seeing beautiful landsat photos in books and magazines in early 90s (with most books from late 70s and 80s), and how they work, and what can be learned with their instruments. The tech and dedication was mind blowing to 10 years old me.

  2. Gopan V Kumar

    ENJOYED IT.😁😁😁😁😉🤘

  3. Curious Khajiit

    Any plans to discuss the insanity of GW Ori? I’d like a more clear idea of how that system even works, and one that isn’t sensationalized for clicks.

  4. Major Gruber

    Sure wish you’d do a video on NASA’s abandoned MXER research (and outside related studies). The orbital tether-sling such an interesting concept. Kind of like LoTech goes super High Tech with a resulting orbital trebuchet. If it worked for Sampson, aye?

  5. Ethan

    Old fashioned machines and electronics are just so cool looking

  6. Different Tan

    The idea for the Yoyager program started in 65 as well although the satellites launched later than Landsat 1, must have been a good year for long lived sat programs

  7. Lost Pony

    Scott Manley in an office job: “File safe.”

  8. Philip Gardner

    Having done some ground truthing Landsat images in 1982 for agriculture. The images were used to check crop health and estimate yield. This is fed into those markets that speculate on grain trade. So if crops look crook in Canada, the world price of canola goes up and you can buy a contract for a higher price to be delivered in the future. A bit like betting on the horses for farmers.

  9. Binky the Cat

    This just might be my favorite episode.

  10. America Yea

    Say Scott are you going to do any videos on the new DLC for the outer wilds I’d like to see that.

  11. Kevin

    Excellent video!!
    Scott, I have a question about space debris mitigation.
    I’m sure there are all sorts of suggestions and plans about how to pick up space junk, similar to how the space shuttle would retrieve broken satellites.
    The development of reusable rockets like New Shepard, Electron, SpaceX, and others allows cheap access to LEO. If Kerbal Space Program taught me anything, it’s that minor changes in speed at apogee will bring junk back.
    Could any of these vehicles be used to lob large tightly woven Hemp-rope nets on intercepts with debris clouds? They only need to inflict low amounts of delta v.
    I say hemp rope because the weight and costs will be extremely low. The small bits can smash through of course, ( but will be slowed ). Just lob them up into the ‘debris orbital toroid’ (forgive if I’m saying this wrong ) on a none orbital but intersecting arch.
    Just a thought, I’d love to know what is actually viable.

  12. Valdez Quin

    Investing in crypto is the best way to earn financial freedom.

  13. MC's Creations

    Pretty interesting history indeed! 😃
    Thanks a lot, Scott!
    Stay safe there with your family! 🖖😊

  14. Xyzzyx

    the old intro is back, YAY!

  15. riley burke

    Much love Scott 🕉️♥️

  16. Joseph Deruggiero

    @Scott Manley Neil Tyson, Bill Nye, and Michio Kaku are all people who have inspired me to be interested in space exploration and I put Scott Manley on that personal Mt Rushmore for me too. This guy has taught me more practical conceptual stuff about physics i can apply than most teachers I’ve had, and taught me how to do things in KSP I’ve seen only in movies. I’m going to college as mechanical and aeronautical engineer because u helped inspire me to, thanks Scott!

  17. Yorkshire_Tea_innit

    Landsat (and sentinel) are just so useful. I bet there are millions of people who could use them to help their job but don’t even know they exist and/or that it’s free.

    I used to work in the Maltese environment agency, and when I showed them all these tools and offered a tutorial for basic use, loads of people got good ideas and started implementing them into what they do. One example of which was monitoring fish farms out at sea which they used to do with a boat.

  18. William Mattison

    My father worked for USDA Grain Inspector Division from the 1950s till 1985. I remember him talking about his office being contacted to identify what was growing in certain fields in his area, South Arkansas. It turned out they were making sure that what the satellite identified in a field was actually what was growing there.

  19. DJ Stoplicht Official

    I enjoyed the way you talked about the history of all the satellites in the program, I watched the launch without really knowing anything about Landsat, made me curious and now I have the answers to all the questions I’ll ever have! Thank you Scott!

  20. Perlsack HD

    This open data is just beautiful. I remember checking if a glacier is still covered in Snow from the Sentinel Data this Summer

  21. mercuryman7

    Interesting to learn the historical connection between the Landsat satellites and the TDRS satellites. It is not often mentioned, but when the Challenger exploded, it was carrying one of the early TDRS satellites. One of the reasons for the (initial) delay of the Challenger launch was an issue with that satellite.

  22. Geoffrey Thorberg

    In your personal opinion, which do you think is the better ‘current’ system(s): Landsat or Sentinel?

  23. Zack’s C-land

    Great episode! I did my grad school research using a good chunk of Landsat data. The whole program is a gem for earth sciences researchers.

  24. N&A Films

    A Scot Manley episode never disappoints!

  25. CJ Turner

    Having made a detour into funding and data availability, you might have to dive into the SPOT Image program and do a compare and contrast report on the science.

  26. chukkie0001

    The landsat 9 centaur upper stage and fuel dump did give some nice images from the netherlands.

  27. Gerry Coll

    One of my earliest introductions to computers was in a remote sensing course using LandSat data. We used what would now be called ASCII art to printout onto white fan fold paper, using space, dot, * # @ etc for different shades, all on a VAX of some description.

  28. Gomisan

    Interesting as always!

  29. Roger Stone

    Fascinating history, but also a demonstration that it’s very hard to take in the spoken word whilst different pictures are being shown. For me, anyway.

  30. stevenewtube

    Hi Scott. Great video mate. I’d love to know who made the tape transports and a bit more on the tape machines. Fascinating !

  31. Lucius Chiaraviglio

    Not at all surprised that costs went up when the program was (fortunately temporarily) privatized. Public-private partnership means public pays and private profits.

  32. Henry A

    Quick reminder – in one month it will be the 50th anniversary of the launch of Prospero (28/10/1971) the only British satellite launched on a British rocket.
    To date, the UK is the only country to have developed and then abandoned a satellite launch capability.

  33. Cat Mate

    Cool story :) Is there going to be a follow up video on the Inspiration mission with videos from space and crew telling about their experience and all the interesting stuff?

  34. Joy L

    Fascinating stuff!
    Thank you Mr. Manley.

  35. Happy Killmore

    The most informative and up-to-date channel on YouTube.

  36. Mick Wilson

    Yay, Scott, for championing this most valuable public good!!

  37. zoperxplex

    Mr. Manley shows his solidarity with the Rainbow Coalition.

  38. Simon Goldenberg

    My grandfather was an abstract painter, and he made some oil paintings based on ERTS and Landsat imagery. 😊

  39. Kenneth Blackwell

    Fantastic….thanks for the report. I love to hear of NASA’s science-satellite programs.

  40. Bob Poekert

    landsat NDVI has been one of the most important inputs to determine commodities prices since it’s been available

  41. klausvonshnytke

    The vastness of your knowledge about space topics is amazing.

  42. Art Hare

    I love earth observation satellites! And your channel, so this comment is mainly to convince the YT algo that you need more viewers.

  43. James Heald

    Scott’s always right

  44. Paul Cochran

    So instead of V’ger, it is actually Landsat that has detected the carbon unit infestation.🙂

  45. Kyle Tornow

    Great episode. Very informative and very interesting to hear of other successful satellite programs. Would be interesting to learn more about how the advanced satellites imagery systems work. Thank you as always

  46. Mark Wandrey

    This program is one of those great examples for the Luddites who love to screech about space junk, and how the space program should be stopped until every puppy is no longer hungry, or some shit.

  47. John Smith

    Incredible breakdown and analysis.
    Hats off as always, Scott. Thanks for going above and beyond.

  48. Amy Soyka

    How does Sentinel tie into all of this?

  49. CoffeeCupArcade

    A thank you from us to you, for keeping us “in the know” when it comes to space. Appreciate you so much!

  50. TonyOranges

    Awesome outro! And also awesome video about all the Landsats out there!

  51. Ben Jamin'

    Really interesting. Keep educating us Scott.

  52. Ann van de Kew

    Thanks for all your research and summaries.

  53. Martin Cain

    This is one of the best videos you’ve ever done. As an avid user of google maps both for travel, exploration and science I appreciate knowing this eye in the sky view will continue to improve and am now going to get into that public data to help plan for the adventures where no other data is available.

  54. Thomas Head

    I worked on the Landsat 6 X-band data transmitter design. It was a fun and interesting project for a young microwave radio engineer. I am thankful I got to contribute to such an important program. Thanks Scott – I really enjoy your videos. This one was particularly interesting to me.

  55. Noah Granger

    still cant say space force with a straight face

  56. Mark Hollis

    Gosh, Scott, you are young! I remember the first Landsat! The multi-spectral scans were used to determine vegetation and also to find minerals in the earth. I think that National Geographic published the first pictures from Landsat I.

  57. Green Tungsten

    Is it an ok standard to sue NASA then be able to get contract from them?

  58. fps 079

    As a member of the Landsat 6 flight software team let me tell you there is no feeling of failure like the loss of a spacecraft. RIP Landsat 6.

  59. Ken Helmers

    Great info! Thanks Scott :)

  60. B1 Laxson

    Have you considered covering Canada’s Radarsat series?

  61. X LessThan Z

    Thanks for that extremely interesting subject. 🥰🤗👍

  62. Sunhawk

    2103. The launch of sls 1 makes it the longest running nasa program.

  63. Tsiney Kinori

    Who would not love to have Scott Manley as a passenger in the intro rocket?
    For every upload from Scott, life goes from calm to interesting to exciting.

  64. John DoDo Doe

    How does Landsat compare to the more recent Dove program and the other satellites from that team?

  65. wafflesnfalafel1

    My grandmother bought a big, glossy picture book of landsat photos for us when we were kids in the 70’s, absolutely loved it, super cool. Had no idea it was still operational.

  66. 0tiochico

    Looking forward to see the imagery back from Landsat 9 and tinker with it´s multispectral data, so much science that can be done with that!

  67. rlborger

    I started working with ERTS-1 data in grad school in 1973. Ended up making much of my career doing image processing and interpretation of various satellite data. The Landsat series was the best to work with. Most folks don’t know that Landsat 2 was originally built as a backup for 1 in case of a launch failure. Never intended to be launched. The unbelievable success of good ol’ ERTS=1 ensured that the backup would eventually fly. Landsat 3 was made up from leftover and spare parts from 1 & 2. The highest quality parts went into 1, the 2nd quality parts into 2 and floor sweepings into 3. Which is why 3 was so short lived and of lower quality data. What a wonderful time it was from the launch of 1 until I was no longer allowed to do Remote Sensing work in my career.

  68. John Clayton

    Would instrumentation on an Earth-facing lunar colony be able to provide similar or better sensing resolution than the Landsat types of satellites?

  69. Chris Middleton

    Scott, can you tell someone important, we need a vessel named “Lightly Seared on the Reality Grill”?
    It’s the first Iain Banks name that made me laugh out loud (in “Matter”). “Don’t Try This at Home” is also good, but maybe a bit on-the-nose?

  70. Mickey Filmer

    I am considerably older than you (apparently!!!) but I remeber being able to access the landsat imagery for the first time (I also woke up at 4am when Neil and Buzz stepped out of Apollo), and was absolutely gobsmacked at the resolution and the ability to see the vegetation in one colour and other things like temperatures etc in infra red, what an amazing set of wonderful views. btw I really appreciate your channel and your concise vand accurate reporting of everything space. Thank you (Young Man- lol!)

  71. Gareth Andrew

    There was vapor trails over the UK from the rocket, cool

  72. seVex

    Graphics were on point with this one. Thanks Scott!

  73. Dave Huntsman

    Great summary, Scott.Only correct I might make is on the shuttle launch facility out at VAFB: it was finished, and we’ all on the Mission Control side were in our (final) simulations training for the first launch from there. All the billions had already been spent- & then a command decision was made- forced by the USAF Secretary- to not use it.

  74. Stephen Hammond

    I saw the booster coming back to earth, due north of my location in Hunmanby, North Yorkshire

  75. Eddy VB

    Yesterday, big UFO alert here in Belgium. A strange triangle thing was seen by many people. But turned out it was the new Landsat after his launch. :)

  76. Asger Vestbjerg

    great video as always
    Good update
    Thanks for sharing :-)

  77. Bamboozled

    Great Video, Awesome Pictures

  78. Prof. Cecily Cogsworth

    Another great video!

  79. Alex Landherr

    I’m impressed that Landsat 5 had a 29 year service record.

  80. fekard

    I know a lot about this, but this is very good. Where did you do the research for this? Some good detail here. Thank you.

  81. Maia Emmett

    I appreciate that both attempts to privatize it failed miserably

  82. FelineSublime

    We definitely benefited from the data being made publicly available as a geology/GIS undergrad from 2008-2012. Did some guided research my junior and senior year using their database, too.

  83. Bob Hopeldorf

    well that’s why you shouldn’t try to commercialize government services. what they do might not be profitable, but it is critical h we need it. thx for video scott. very cool beans

  84. Touko Kivistö

    I guess the baldness might add to the age, because I had no idea Scott was younger than my mom

  85. Helium Road

    3:02 love those old school graphics

  86. Shannon McDowell

    Long time viewer, just wanted to thank you for your videos – I always learn something new with each one! Best to you! 😃

  87. Jon Ceretto

    Having wrote software for Landsat 4’s Thematic Mapper oh so many years ago, I truly appreciate your videos. Keep up the great work, Scott. If you’re ever at the Smithsonian in Washington DC, check out the non-flight Thematic Mapper on display which we used to test our software.

  88. rocketsocks

    Huh, it’s interesting that both Landsat 6 and Mars Observer failed within months of each other both due to faulty hydrazine plumbing.

  89. Oremo Oremo

    I was wondering whether the Landsat monetization program is what led to the lack of data in some areas during 1990 -1995 or was it due to the failure of landsat 6 getting into orbit?

  90. Erzgebirge erleben

    The Landsat-Data is just awesome!!! GJ US!

  91. The Virtual Scotsman

    Saw that rocket myself! Saw the retrograde burn above Scotland.

  92. Matthew Stuart

    Love all your videos :)

  93. Patrick's Music

    Old tech is really fascinating to me

  94. Chuko Kpolugbo

    My cousin was there watching the launch. I think he does some kind of software engineering that was used by NASA

  95. David Chandler

    I had a great view on North base for all of the 4 seconds that I saw it😂

  96. Hyperspace Industries

    It is a massive disappointment that they didn’t call it the eros program:

  97. ebikeracer9

    Awesome video as always Scott!


    Yes, a new video!

Comments are closed.