Sensor, Vidicon Tube, Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS)

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

In the 1970s, NASA inaugurated the Landsat series of satellites to study the Earth from space. The program demonstrated the practical benefits of such research: for the first time the Earth's natural resources--land, water, and vegetation--could be mapped and studied continuously and on a global basis.

The Earth Resources Technology Satellite (later renamed Landsat 1), launched in 1972, was the first of these satellites. One of the main instruments was a Return Beam Vidicon (RBV) camera, which provided provided black and white images of the Earth.

This artifact, a vidicon (or television) tube, was the key component of this instrument system. The RBV used three vidicon tubes, each gathering data at different wavelengths.

Mr. Abe Schapf donated this artifact to the Museum in 1975.