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Multispectral Scanner

NSSDCA ID: 1972-058A-02

Mission Name: Landsat 1
Principal Investigator:Mr. Joseph Arlauskas


The Landsat 1 Multispectral Scanner (MSS) was designed to provide repetitive daytime acquisition of high-resolution, multispectral data of the earth's surface on a global basis and to demonstrate that remote sensing from space is a feasible and practical approach to efficient management of the earth's resources. In addition to obtaining data for use in earth resource type studies, the MSS system was used to conduct oceanographic and meteorological studies, i.e., to map sea-ice fields, locate and track major ocean currents, monitor both air and water pollution, determine snow cover, investigate severe storm environments, etc. The MSS consisted of a 22.86-cm double reflector-type telescope, scanning mirror, filters, detectors, and associated electronics. The scanner operated in the following spectral intervals: (1) 0.5 to 0.6 micrometer, (2) 0.6 to 0.7 micrometer, (3) 0.7 to 0.8 micrometer, and (4) 0.8 to 1.1 micrometers (these bands were designated as bands 4, 5, 6, and 7, respectively). Incoming radiation was collected by the scanning mirror, which oscillated 2.89 deg to either side of nadir and scanned cross-track swaths 185-km wide. The along-track scan was produced by the orbital motion of the spacecraft. The primary image produced at the image plane of the telescope was relayed by use of fiber optic bundles to detectors where conversion to an electronic signal was accomplished. Optical filters were used to produce the desired spectral separation. Six detectors were employed in each of the four spectral bands: bands 4 to 6 used photomultiplier tubes as detectors, and band 7 used silicon photodiodes. A multiplexer included in the MSS system processed the scanner's 24 channels of video data. The data were time-multiplexed and then converted to a pulse-code modulated signal by an A/D converter. The data were then transmitted (2229.5 MHz) directly to an acquisition station or, in the case of remote areas, stored on magnetic tape for subsequent playback the next time the spacecraft came within communication range of an acquisition station. Data from this experiment are handled by the NASA Data Processing Facility, GSFC, Greenbelt, Md., and are available to approved investigators and agencies through its Landsat users services section. All other interested individuals may obtain data through the Earth Resources Data Center, Department of the Interior, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Alternate Names

  • Landsat1/MSS
  • MSS

Funding Agency

  • Unknown (United States)


  • Earth Science: Land Surface Processes

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Mr. Joseph ArlauskasPrincipal InvestigatorNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
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