Orville T. Magoon, Douglas M. Pirie, John W. Jarman


This paper describes the Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS) placed in orbit in July 1972 and the ERTS simulation high altitude aircraft flights which have been flown for approximately one year. The ERTS satellite and simulation programs conducted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have been developed to demonstrate the techniques for efficient management of the earth's resources. To achieve this objective the ERTS-A satellite provides for the repetitive acquisition of high resolution multispectral data of the earth's surface on a global basis. Two sensor systems have been selected for this purpose: a fourchannel multispectral scanner (MSS) subsystem for ERTS-A and a threecamera return beam vidicon (RBV) system. Systematic repeating earth coverage under nearly constant observation conditions is provided for maximum utility of the multispectral images collected by the ERTS satellite, which operates in a circular sun synchronous nearly polar orbit at an altitude of 494 nautical miles. It circles the earth every 103 minutes completing 14 orbits per day and views the entire earth in 18 days. The orbit has been selected so that the satellite ground trace repeats its earth coverage at the same local time every 18-day period within 20 nautical miles. A number of data output products are available from this satellite which include 70 mm products for precise location of topographic features, 9.5 inch positive or paper prints and also computer compatible tapes or punched cards. Also described are the results of the ERTS-A simulation flights flown at an altitude of 65,000 feet as related to coastal studies. Simulations of both the RBV and MSS in coastal areas are presented.


satellite; Erts-A satellite

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