Figure 1: Artist’s impression of LSTM [Credits: ESA]
LSTM (Land Surface Temperature Monitoring) is an ESA mission developed by Airbus Defense and Space, set to join the Copernicus Sentinel system in 2028. The satellite will have Thermal Infrared (TIR) observation capabilities over land and coastal regions in support of agriculture management services, and possibly a range of additional services.
The optical instrument of LSTM, Land Surface Temperature Radiometer, will acquire high spatio-temporal resolution observations of all land and coastal areas with high radiometric accuracy.
The mission’s primary objectives are to monitor evapotranspiration (ET) rates by capturing the variability of Land Surface Temperature (LST), as well as map and monitor soil composition. LSTM also has a range of TIR observational applications including coastal zone management and monitoring of High-Temperature Events (HTE) and urban heat islands.
The TIR instrument on LSTM (Land Surface Temperature Radiometer) is currently under development by the European Commision, and will operate in Very Near Infrared (VNIR), Short Wave Infrared (SWIR), and Thermal Infrared (TIR) spectral bands. The instrument has a spatial resolution of 50 m, making observations covering a wide temperature range, from approximately -20°C to 30°C with a precision of 0.3°C. The imager can provide daily measurements from five bands in the TIR spectral range 8 - 12.5 μm complemented by bands in the visible and NIR.
LSTM will operate in a low-Earth polar orbit, with a four-day revisit period. The mission will map the surface temperature of Earth and rates of evapotranspiration every 1 - 3 days, at 400 times finer resolution than currently measured from space.
LSTM is Copernicus Space Component (CSC) High Priority Candidate Mission (HPCM), currently undergoing an ESA preparatory phase study to establish mission feasibility. LSTM improves upon Sentinel-3, which currently provides global LST measurements at a limited spatial resolution of 1 km, by creating field-scale observation capabilities at 50 m resolution.
Airbus Defense and Space has been contracted by ESA for the LSTM mission, as one of six new missions to join the CSC. The contract includes the development of one LSTM satellite, with an option for two further satellites.
Revisit time 2 days
Swath > 670 km
Altitude ~ 651Km
Elevation angle 27.7 deg
Max OZA ~ 30 deg
MLST 12:30 descending node
SSD 50 m (37 native at nadir)
Geolocation accuracy, 25 m (with GCPs, 50 otherwise)
Figure 2: Simulation of the LSTM satellites in orbit [Credtis: ESA]
Mission Observation Scenario
Systematic observations over:
Land and inland water areas between -56° and +84° latitude
Major islands and all European islands
Coastal waters covered within 100 km from the shoreline
Sun Zenith Angle < 82 deg for VNIR and SWIR spectral bands
The LSTM has 11 main Spectral bands in the infrared frequencies, grouped as follows
Figure 4: Field of view of the LSTM instrument and related spectral bands [Credits: ESA]
To provide observations of land-surface temperature
Improving sustainable agricultural productivity at field-scale
Predict droughts and also to address land degradation
Radiometrically & geometrically calibrated TOA radiance
Top of atmosphere brightness temperature
Land Surface Temperature
Land Surface Emissivity per TIR spectral band
Bottom of atmosphere surface reflectance
Total Column of Water Vapor (intermediate product required for LST retrieval)
Cloud mask (intermediate product provided as a quality flag)
The LSTM mission will consist of two satellites, LSTM-A (planned for launch in 2028) and LSTM-B (planned for launch in 2030). The expected lifecycle is 7.5 years.