A New View in 2009: DigitalGlobe Announces Launch of New Satellite
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.
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 to 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 land cover 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 www.satimagingcorp.com.