From 1972 to 1978, three Landsat remote sensing satellites inaugurated the U.S. Landsat and Earth Resources Technology Program. These near-polar orbiting satellites acquired data on the Earth's land mass, coastal boundaries, and coral reefs, with the goal of observing changes in land surfaces and surrounding environments and providing day-to-day help to agriculture, geology, forestry, hydrology and cartography.
Each spacecraft carried a wide range of sensors. These included; a Return Beam Vidicon (essentially a television camera), a multispectral scanner and a data collection system which allowed data from remote ground stations to be relayed to a central processing facility.
The last of the Landsat 1-3 series (Landsat 3) was retired on September 7, 1983; since then the program has continued using updated satellite designs.
This artifact is a 1/4 scale model, donated by General Electric Space Systems to the Museum in 1978.