Landsat 5 is the fifth satellite of the Landsat program. It was launched on March 1, 1984, with the primary goal of providing a global archive of satellite photos. The Landsat Program is managed by USGS, and data from Landsat 5 is collected and distributed from the USGS's Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science. On March 2nd 2009, Landsat 5 celebrated its 25th anniversary of operation, 22 years over its 3-year mission.
On November 26, 2005, the back-up solar array drive on Landsat 5 began exhibiting unusual behavior. The solar array drive maintains the proper pointing angle between the solar array and the sun. The rotation of the solar array drive became sporadic, and the solar array was not able to provide the power needed to charge the batteries. Maintaining power to the batteries is critical to sustain proper operation of the spacecraft. The primary solar array drive failed under similar circumstances in January 2005. As a result of this situation, imaging operations were suspended. After a month-long investigation in December 2005 and testing in January 2006, new operating procedures were developed that will allow Landsat 5 to continue normal operations.
In March 2009, Landsat 5 celebrated its 25 years in orbit and was still sending back data. On August 13, 2009, Landsat 5 tumbled out of control and power fell to a critical level due to an unknown event. Landsat 5 resumed nominal operation (battery savings mode) on August 17, 2009. On December 18, 2009, the transmitter on Landsat 5 experienced technical difficulties. Data downlink was restored on January 7, 2010 after a test successfully managed to retrieve a picture over North America.
Landsat 5 has significantly exceeded its designed life expectancy by over 22 years by 2009, and lasting 25 years total. It has a maximum transmission bandwidth of 85 Mbit/s. It was deployed at an altitude of 705.3 km (438.3 mi). It takes some 16 days to scan the entire Earth. The satellite is an identical copy of Landsat 4 and was originally intended as a backup: it therefore carries the same instruments, including the Thematic Mapper and Multi-Spectral Scanner. The Multi-Spectral Scanner was powered down in 1995.