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The Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) on Landsat 8: Design Overview and Pre-Launch Characterization
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Pre- and Post-Launch Spatial Quality of the Landsat 8 Thermal Infrared Sensor

Sigma Space Corporation, 4600 Forbes Blvd., Lanham, MD 20706, USA
Office of Engineering Research, College of Engineering, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007, USA
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ron Morfitt and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(2), 1962-1980;
Received: 8 August 2014 / Accepted: 28 January 2015 / Published: 11 February 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landsat-8 Sensor Characterization and Calibration)
PDF [35913 KB, uploaded 11 February 2015]


The Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) for the Landsat 8 platform was designed and built at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). TIRS data will extend the data record for thermal observations from the heritage Landsat sensors, dating back to the launch of Landsat 4 in 1982. The two-band (10.9 and 12.0 μm) pushbroom sensor with a 185 km-wide swath uses a staggered arrangement of quantum well infrared photodetector (QWIPs) arrays. The required spatial resolution is 100 m for TIRS, with the assessment of crop moisture and water resources being science drivers for that resolution. The evaluation of spatial resolution typically relies on a straight knife-edge technique to determine the spatial edge response of a detector system, and such an approach was implemented for TIRS. Flexibility in the ground calibration equipment used for TIRS thermal-vacuum chamber testing also made possible an alternate strategy that implemented a circular target moved in precise sub-pixel increments across the detectors to derive the edge response. On-orbit, coastline targets were developed to evaluate the spatial response performance. Multiple targets were identified that produced similar results to one another. Even though there may be a slight bias in the point spread function (PSF)/modulation transfer function (MTF) estimates towards poorer performance using this approach, it does have the ability to track relative changes for monitoring long-term instrument status. The results for both pre- and post-launch response analysis show general good agreement and consistency with edge slope along-track values of 0.53 and 0.58 pre- and post-launch and across-track values 0f 0.59 and 0.55 pre- and post-launch. View Full-Text
Keywords: Landsat; TIRS; spatial calibration Landsat; TIRS; spatial calibration

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Wenny, B.N.; Helder, D.; Hong, J.; Leigh, L.; Thome, K.J.; Reuter, D. Pre- and Post-Launch Spatial Quality of the Landsat 8 Thermal Infrared Sensor. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 1962-1980.

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