The Return Beam Vidicon and the Multi-Spectral Scanner

Landsats 1 and 2 supported two sensor systems, the Return Beam Vidicon (RBV) and the Multi-Spectral Scanner (MSS).

The RBV consisted of three TV-like cameras which used colour filters to provide multispectral bands centred in the blue-green, yellow-red, and red-IR regions of the spectrum. However, this sensor failed early on Landsat 1 (ERTS 1) and never came into routine use. Note that a panchromatic four camera RBV on Landsat 3 provided four contiguous images at 30 m resolution.

The MSS has operated on all Landsat spacecraft up to and including Landsat-5 to maintain continuity. Table 1 provides summary information about the Landsat MSS.

Instrument Wavebands* Spectral Response Resolution Swath Width
MSS 4: 0.5 - 0.6um
5: 0.6 - 0.7um
6: 0.7 - 0.8um
7: 0.8 - 1.1um
red/near IR
near IR
80m 185km
Table 1 - Summary of Landsat MSS
* bands 1-3 were assigned to the RBV

The Landsat MSS scanning arrangement is illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1 - The Landsat MSS scanning arrangement - coutesy of GLIS

Applications of MSS data

Landsat MSS data has been widely used for land applications. However do you know what the mission specifics for each of the wavebands originally was?

Last updated and validated 25/10/99
Copyright © 1997 - National Learning Network for Remote Sensing. All rights reserved.