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Archive for May, 2008

GeoEye Scheduled to Launch Next-Gen EO Satellite

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

GeoEye-1 in Orbit
GeoEye has announced an August 22, 2008 launch date for its next-generation, earth imaging satellite GeoEye-1. Boeing Launch Services and GeoEye finalized this launch date in an amendment to the Launch Service Agreement that was signed on May 7, 2008.

GeoEye-1 remains at the Gilbert, Ariz. facility of General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, GeoEye’s prime contractor and integrator for the satellite bus and telescope. The satellite will be shipped in early July to Vandenberg Air Force Base in time to support the August launch on a United Launch Alliance Delta II vehicle.

Bill Schuster, GeoEye’s chief operating officer, said, “This contract amendment is an important step on the road to launch. The satellite was completed on budget, without any change orders which often increase costs. We have and will continue to conduct exercises, rehearsals, training and other risk-reduction measures to support the new launch date of August 22, 2008.”

“GeoEye-1 demonstrates that high performing imaging satellites can be developed within predictable cost and schedule objectives,” said David Shingledecker, vice president and general manager of integrated space systems for General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems.

“The maturity level achieved with GeoEye-1 significantly lowers risk in the development of future imaging satellites of this class for both commercial and government customers.”

GeoEye assembled a team of contractors with virtually a 100-percent mission success record. ITT’s Space Systems Division (Rochester, NY) built the sensor or camera. GeoEye-1 will be lifted into a near-polar orbit by a United Launch Alliance Delta II launch vehicle provided by Boeing Launch Services (Huntington Beach, Calif.).

GeoEye-1 Image Source: GeoEye

A New View in 2009: DigitalGlobe Announces Launch of New Satellite

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

The launch partner for DigitalGlobe’s much-anticipated WorldView-2 satellite has finally been announced.  The first satellite to detect four additional bands of color, this newest earth-orbiter will soon be producing some of the most accurate satellite images available.  Engineers in oil and gas, environmental protection, construction, and city planning will find these images invaluable to planning cost-efficient construction and research projects.

DigitalGlobe has announced plans to launch its third commercial imaging satellite in mid-2009.  The company, which supplies high-resolution satellite images to hundreds of government and commercial clients including Google Earth, has selected Boeing Launch Services for the launch of WorldView-2. The launch will be the third partnership between DigitalGlobe and Boeing Launch Services – Boeing successfully launched DigitalGlobe’s previous satellites, QuickBird and WorldView-1, which launched in September 2007.

WorldView-2 Satellite in Orbit

Image Credit: DigitalGlobe

Satellite imaging has uses in hundreds of industries including agriculture, coastal management, environmental studies, defense mapping, urban planning, homeland security, and disaster relief. The technology has also found mass appeal in online applications like Google Earth, Google Maps and MSN Live Search Maps, which offer users satellite images of locations around the globe.

The WorldView-2, which costs around $400 million, is the only satellite of its kind to be built without any government funding.

WorldView-2 will offer several improvements on its predecessor’s image capture and storage capabilities and help companies keep up with the increasing demand for high-resolution satellite images. The new satellite will fly at an altitude of 800 km and produce the highest-resolution pictures yet, capturing images with a resolution of 0.46 meters at Nadir (note that imagery must be resampled to 0.5 meters for non-US Government customers). The satellite will also feature improved communications: Images can be downloaded directly to clients, significantly decreasing the time customers normally wait to receive requested images.

Additionally, WorldView-2 will introduce four new bands of color: coastal, red edge, yellow, and near-infrared-2. The improved detail and image qualities of WorldView-2 will allow for increased spectral analysis to improve Geospatial accuracy in GIS, mapping and other environmental applications. Satellite imaging companies across the country will benefit from the higher quality of data collected by the new satellite.

“The greatest advantage of the WorldView-2 is the additional bands,” said Leopold J. Romeijn of Houston-based Satellite Imaging Corporation. “Using this satellite, you’ll detect more information from the surface of the earth.”

Previous high-resolution satellite images were only available in panchromatic and four standard colors: red, green, blue (RGB) and near-infrared (NIR). The addition of WorldView-2′s four new colors will provide a wealth of information for vegetation cover to deliver detailed landcover classifications and support agriculture and forestry management. Romeijn said that the WorldView-2 will be especially helpful to federal agencies and private companies in need of good environmental data.

“If you’re looking at a forest or agriculture crops, the additional bands can help you far better analyze the health and vigor of the crops and forest vegetation. That’s a big advantage – the WorldView-2 is going to be a good system to work with,” Romeijn said.

Satellite Imaging Corporation is one of many companies that processes and interprets images gathered from DigitalGlobe’s satellites. The processed images help in the planning and design of pipelines, roads, mapping, and other projects. For more information about the WorldView-2 or imaging solutions from Satellite Imaging Corporation, please call (1) 832-237-2900 or visit