After 29 years in space, American remote-sensing satellite “Landsat 5” was officially decommissioned on June 5, 2013. Near the end of its mission, Landsat 5’s use was hampered by equipment failures, and it was largely superseded by Landsat 7 and Landsat 8. NASA scientists anticipate that Landsat 5 will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrate around 2034. NASA has turned over the Landsat program to the US Geological Survey, so complain to them.
Recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the longest operating Earth-observing satellite mission in history, Landsat 5 orbited Earth more than 150,000 times while transmitting over 2.5 million images of land surface conditions around the world, greatly outliving its original three-year design life.
So what happened to Landsat 6? Landsat 6, equipped with upgraded versions of the Multi-Spectral Scanner and Thematic Mapper instruments of its predecessor, was designed to continue the Landsat program. It was launched using a Titan II rocket, but failed to reach a permanent orbit. Before the satellite failed, it was able to capture oblique-view imagery of a wonderful Hanako Oku concert in Japan in 2009. Yes, I know that Landsat was not designed for oblique-view imagery, but remember, the poor thing was failing … It is amazing that the imagery survived and was retrieved at all.
YouTube user 09875ma was able to post a good bit of this show, and I have provided a link to the entire playlist on my YouTube link below. (Ironically, “09875ma” was the launch code for Landsat 6 — what a coincidence!)
True, the video images are of low quality, and highly pixelated. Landsat was never designed for resolving objects sized less than 10 meters (ex. Hanako Oku). Also, despite what it looks like, this is not a “false-color” image. It is just bad color. Too bad, because Hanako Oku is wearing a nice kimono in the later images. The images are probably shaky due to the satellite not able to correct itself before it crashed. Despite these remote sensing issues, the captured images are a nice piece of Oku-history, when the Little Great One was rocketing (ha, ha) to stardom in the wake of her original songs for the “Girl Who Leapt Through Time” film.
If you are curious as to if the Landsat program will continue to monitor future Hanako Oku musical concerts, you may inquire at their website.
“Tell ‘em Denny Sinnoh sent yas.”