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Landsat 5 Being Shut Down After Almost Three Decades of Vigiliance

Landsat 5, an observational satellite that was launched into space almost thirty years ago, is celebrating its last holiday season, as the US Geological Survey will soon be shutting it down. It was originally launched in 1984 and intended to have a three-year run, which expanded into almost three decades, making it the oldest satellite in orbit.

Landsat 5 has orbited the Earth 150,000 times and transmitted 2.5 million images, likely recording any and all major events that have transpired in its lifetime. It has malfunctioned in the past, but never anything irreparable until now. A gyroscope broke, and like a show horse breaking its leg, the satellite needs to be put down.

Landsat 5 is one of two satellites that the USGS has active, the other being Landsat 7, which was launched in 1999. Landsat 8, which stands as a testament to the USGS’s creativity, is scheduled to be launched in February of next year.

via The Verge

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