EO-1 data quality and sensor stability with changing orbital precession at the end of a 16 year mission

Remote Sens (Basel). 2017 May;9(5):412. doi: 10.3390/rs9050412. Epub 2017 Apr 27.


The Earth Observing One (EO-1) satellite has completed 16 years of Earth observations in early 2017. What started as a technology mission to test various new advancements turned into a science and application mission that extended many years beyond the satellite's planned life expectancy. EO-1's primary instruments are spectral imagers: Hyperion, the only civilian full spectrum spectrometer (430-2400 nm) in orbit; and the Advanced Land Imager (ALI), the prototype for Landsat-8's pushbroom imaging technology. Both Hyperion and ALI instruments have continued to perform well, but in February 2011 the satellite ran out of the fuel necessary to maintain orbit, which initiated a change in precession rate that led to increasingly earlier equatorial crossing times during its last five years. The change from EO-1's original orbit, when it was formation flying with Landsat-7 at a 10:01am equatorial overpass time, to earlier overpass times results in image acquisitions with increasing solar zenith angles (SZAs). In this study, we take several approaches to characterize data quality as SZAs increased. Our results show that for both EO-1 sensors, atmospherically corrected reflectance products are within 5 to 10% of mean pre-drift products. No marked trend in decreasing quality in ALI or Hyperion is apparent through 2016, and these data remain a high quality resource through the end of the mission.

Keywords: ALI; Advanced Land Imager; EO-1; Hyperion; Landsat-7; Precession; Solar Zenith Angle; data quality.