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Watching Earth for 25 years

Happy Birthday to the workhorse Landsat 5 satellite

The high-flying Landsat 5 celebrated a quarter-century in orbit March 1 by snapping an image of Alaska’s Redoubt Volcano, a peak that’s been rumbling and threatening to erupt since November 2008.

Since its launch in 1984, the VW Beetle-sized craft has circled Earth at an altitude of about 700 kilometers more than 130,000 times — once every 99 minutes, says Kristi Kline, program manager for Landsat at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science in Sioux Falls, S.D.

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