US: In June, the US Geological Survey (USGS) had reported that Landsat 8 acquisitions were going to gradually increase during the Northern Hemisphere growing season from the average 550 images per day. USGS had then said that the collection rate had incrementally increased to approximately 650 images per day, and that it will continue at a conservative rate until all day-lit descending land images are scheduled or until any indication of a ground system limit is identified.
Recently, Landsat 8 has been acquiring an average of 700 scenes per day. USGS has confirmed that Landsat 8 will continue to acquire nearly all day-lit land images until October 2014. These increased acquisitions would provide more data for monitoring and research. “This study will help us identify an optimal daily limit to meet science requirements while managing costs and spacecraft health and safety,” USGS said in a press release.
The addition of Landsat 8 data acquisitions has also allowed USGS to modify the Landsat 7 acquisition plan. The new plan will primarily allow the satellite to focus on continental landmasses to improve coverage of persistently cloudy areas and provide more scenes for gap-filling Landsat 7 SLC-off images.
USGS has also stated that these changes will also eliminate routine imaging of islands, water, and Antarctica, while allowing the satellite to acquire approximately 91% of all continental land images. The acquisition of longer intervals will reduce wear on the instrument and increase the likelihood of Landsat 7 and 8 continuing the 8-day repeat cycle into early 2018.