The Earth Observing One (EO-1) satellite was launched in November 2000 as a technology demonstration mission with an estimated 1-year lifespan. It has now successfully completed 12 years of high spatial resolution imaging operations from low Earth orbit. EO-1's two main instruments, Hyperion and the Advanced Land Imager (ALI), have both served as prototypes for new generation satellite missions. ALI, an innovative multispectral instrument, is the forerunner of the Operational Land Imager (OLI) onboard the Landsat Data Continuity Mission's (LDCM) Landsat-8 satellite, recently launched in Feb. 2013. Hyperion, a hyperspectral instrument, serves as the heritage orbital spectrometer for future global platforms, including the proposed NASA Hyperspectral Infrared Imager (HyspIRI) and the forthcoming (in 2017) German satellite, EnMAP. This JSTARS Special Issue is dedicated to EO-1. This paper serves as an introduction to the Hyperion and ALI instruments, their capabilities, and the important contributions this mission has made to the science and technology communities. This paper also provides an overview of the EO-1 mission, including the several operational phases which have characterized its lifetime. It also briefly describes calibration and validation activities, and gives an overview of the spin-off technologies, including disaster monitoring and new Web-based tools which can be adapted for use in future missions.