The moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) was launched on the Terra spacecraft on Dec.18, 1999 and on Aquaon May 4, 2002. The data acquired by these instruments have contributed to the long-term climate data record for more than a decade and represent a key component of NASA’s Earth observing system. Each MODIS instrument observes nearly the whole Earth each day, enabling the scientific characterization of the land, ocean, and atmosphere. The MODIS Level 1B (L1B) algorithms input uncalibrated geo-located observations and convert instrument response into calibrated reflectance and radiance, which are used to generate science data products. The instrument characterization needed to run the L1B code is currently implemented using time-dependent lookup tables. The MODIS characterization support team, working closely with the MODIS Science Team, has improved the product quality with each data reprocessing. We provide an overview of the new L1B algorithm release, designated collection 6. Recent improvements made as a consequence of on-orbit calibration, on-orbit analyses, and operational considerations are described. Instrument performance and the expected impact of L1B changes on the collection 6 L1B products are discussed.