The Landsat program is a joint effort between the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), but the partner agencies have distinct roles. NASA develops remote-sensing instruments and spacecraft, launches satellites, and validates their performance in orbit. The USGS owns and operates Landsat satellites in space and manages their data transmissions, including ground reception, archiving, product generation, and public distribution. In 2008, with support from the U.S. Department of the Interior, the USGS made its Landsat data free to anyone in the world.
The current satellites in the Landsat program, Landsat 7 (launched in 1999) and Landsat 8 (launched in 2013), provide complete coverage of the Earth every eight days. A Landsat 9 satellite is scheduled for launch in late 2020.