NASA Logo, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive Header

Return Beam Vidicon Camera (RBV)

NSSDCA ID: 1978-026A-01

Mission Name: Landsat 3
Principal Investigator:Dr. Stanley C. Freden


The LANDSAT 3 Return Beam Vidicon (RBV) camera system contained two identical cameras covering the spectral band from 0.53 to 0.75 micrometer. The two earth-oriented cameras were mounted on a common base, structurally isolated from the spacecraft to maintain accurate alignment. Each camera contained an optical lens, a RBV sensor, a thermoelectric cooler, deflection and focus coils, a mechanical shutter, erase lamps, and sensor electronics. The cameras were aligned to view adjacent 98-km square ground scenes which overlapped slightly so that the total width of the ground scene was 185 km. The cameras were operated every 12.5 s to produce overlapping images along the direction of spacecraft motion. After shuttering, the image was scanned by an electron beam to produce a video output signal. The timing cycle was arranged so that a 3.5-s offset was introduced between the readouts of the two cameras, permitting sequential readout of the cameras, allowing the same tape recorder and communication channel to be used. Video data from the RBV were transmitted (at 2265.5 MHz) in both real-time and tape-recorder modes. From a nominal spacecraft altitude of 912 km, the RBV had a ground resolution of 40 m (twice the LANDSAT 1 resolution of 80 m). Data from this experiment were handled by the NASA Data Processing Facility, GSFC, Greenbelt, Md., and were made available to approved investigators and agencies through its LANDSAT users' services section. All other interested individuals can obtain data through the EROS Data Center, Department of Commerce, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Alternate Names

  • Landsat3/RBV
  • RBV


  • Earth Science: Land Surface Processes
  • Engineering: None assigned
  • Earth Science: None assigned

Additional Information

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



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Stanley C. FredenPrincipal InvestigatorNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
[] NASA Logo -