We told you earlier this year about the launch of the Landsat 8 satellite and now the first images captured by that satellite are starting to arrive.
NASA’s Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) page has quite a bit of detail about the imagery including the following:
But the work is only beginning for validating the data quality and getting ready for normal mission operations. These images were processed using pre-launch settings, which must be checked and adjusted now that LDCM is in orbit to ensure that the data accurately measure the intensity of reflected and emitted light received by the instruments. The mission operations team also needs to ensure that each pixel is accurately located on Earth’s surface.
LDCM’s normal operations are scheduled to begin in late May when the instruments have been calibrated and the spacecraft has been fully checked out. At that time, NASA will hand over control of the satellite to the USGS, which will operate the satellite throughout its planned five-year mission life. The satellite will be renamed Landsat 8, and data from OLI and TIRS will be processed and added to the Landsat Data Archive at the Earth Resources Observation and Science Center in South Dakota, where it will be distributed for free over the Internet.
There is no specific timeframe for when imagery from this satellite may arrive in Google Earth, but it’s certainly coming. You can read more about this imagery on the LCDM site or the Google Geo Developers Blog.