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23 October 2018 Landsat-8 on-orbit and Landsat-9 pre-launch sensor radiometric characterization
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Landsat-8 has been operating on-orbit for 5+ years. Its two sensors, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) and Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS), are continuing to produce high quality data. The OLI has been radiometrically stable at the better than 0.3% level on a band average basis for all but the shortest wavelength (443 nm) band, which has degraded about 1.3% since launch. All on-board calibration devices continue to perform well and consistently. No gaps in across track coverage exist as 100% operability of the detectors is maintained. The variability over time of detector responsivity within a band relative to the average is better than 0.05% (1 sigma), though there are occasional detectors that jump up to 1.5% in response in the Short-Wave InfraRed (SWIR) bands. Signal-to-Noise performance continues at 2-3x better than requirements, with a small degradation in the 443 nm band commensurate with the loss in sensitivity. Pre-launch error analysis, combined with the stability of the OLI indicates that the absolute reflectance calibration uncertainty is better than 3%; comparisons to ground measurements and comparisons to other sensors are consistent with this. The Landsat-8 TIRS is similarly radiometrically stable, showing changes of at most 0.3% over the mission. The uncertainty in the absolute calibration as well as the detector to detector variability are largely driven by the stray light response of TIRS. The current processing corrects most of the stray light effects, resulting in absolute uncertainties of ~1% and reduced striping. Efforts continue to further reduce the striping. Noise equivalent delta temperature is about 50 mK at typical temperatures and 100% detector operability is maintained. Landsat-9 is currently under development with a launch no earlier than December 2020. The nearly identical OLI-2 and upgraded TIRS-2 sensors have completed integration and are in the process of instrument level performance characterization including spectral, spatial, radiometric and geometric testing. Component and assembly level measurements of the OLI-2, which include spectral response, radiometric response and stray light indicate comparable performance to OLI. The first functional tests occurred in July 2018 and spatial performance testing in vacuum is scheduled for August 2018. Similarly, for TIRS-2, partially integrated instrument level testing indicated spectral and spatial responses comparable to TIRS, with stray light reduced by approximately an order of magnitude from TIRS.
© (2018) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Brian Markham, Julia Barsi, Matthew Montanaro, Joel McCorkel, Aaron Gerace, Jeffrey Pedelty, Simon Hook, Nina Raqueno, Cody Anderson, and Md Obaidul Haque "Landsat-8 on-orbit and Landsat-9 pre-launch sensor radiometric characterization", Proc. SPIE 10781, Earth Observing Missions and Sensors: Development, Implementation, and Characterization V, 1078104 (23 October 2018);

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