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The Multispectral Thermal Imager (MTI) satellite is a research and development project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. The primary mission is to demonstrate advanced multispectral and thermal imaging from a satellite, including new technologies, data processing, and analysis techniques and validation by reference to ground truth. The MTI builds on the efforts of a number of earlier efforts, including Landsat, National Aeronautics and Space Administration remote sensing missions, and others, but the MTI incorporates a unique combination of attributes designed to advance the state of the art. The MTI satellite was launched on March 12, 2000 into a 580 km 610 km, sun-synchronous orbit with nominal 1 a.m. and 1 p.m. equatorial crossing times. The Air Force Space Test Program provided the Orbital Sciences Taurus launch. The satellite-based sensors obtain radiance data that are subsequently processed into measurements of atmospheric and surface properties such as column water vapor, atmospheric aerosol loading, surface temperatures, material composition, and others. This paper provides an overview of the MTI research objectives, design, operations, data products, and data processing and analysis. Several other papers provide greater detail on selected topics.