Maybe now I’ll be able to find more weather stations from Google Earth imagery. This spacecraft is an even better versions of Ikonos, with better resolution and color.
Note to all you gals out there: sunbathing in the back yard just got a bit less private.
From Reuters, excerpt:
Liftoff from Vandenberg
By Andrea Shalal-Esa
WASHINGTON, Sept 6 (Reuters) – GeoEye Inc said it successfully launched into space on Saturday its new GeoEye-1 satellite, which will provide the U.S. government, Google Earth users and others the highest-resolution commercial color satellite imagery on the market.
“It was a picture-perfect launch and we’ve now gotten confirmation that … we have commanded the satellite and it has responded,” GeoEye Chief Executive Matthew O’Connell told Reuters in a telephone interview from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, where the satellite was launched at 11:50 a.m. PDT (1850 GMT).
“Everybody is now slapping high fives,” he said, adding that it would take 30 to 45 days before the company calibrates the camera aboard the satellite and receives imagery.
GeoEye-1 will be able to capture images at .41 metres (16 inches) resolution in black and white and 1.65 metres (5.5 feet) in color, but under current government rules, the company can only offer the public half-metre (1.64 feet) images.
The satellite will take digital images of the Earth from 423 miles (681 km) and moving at a speed of about 4 1/2 miles (7 km) per second.
O’Connell said the $502 million satellite, built partly with money from the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, would “open up a lot of opportunities” for the GeoEye, and capped four years of work on the spacecraft.
Spacecraft details and photo:
GeoEye will again make history with the upcoming launch of GeoEye-1—the world’s highest resolution commercial earth-imaging satellite.
GeoEye-1 will be equipped with the most sophisticated technology ever used in a commercial satellite system. It will offer unprecedented spatial resolution by simultaneously acquiring 0.41-meter panchromatic and 1.65-meter multispectral imagery. The detail and geospatial accuracy of GeoEye-1 imagery will further expand applications for satellite imagery in every commercial and government market sector. To learn more about GeoEye’s collection and delivery capabilities, please visit our launch site.
|Spatial Resolution||0.41 meters x 1.65 meters|
|Spectral Range||450–800 nm
450–510 nm (blue)
510–580 nm (green)
655–690 nm (red)
780–920 nm (near IR)
|Swath Width||15.2 km|
|Off-Nadir Imaging||Up to 60 degrees|
|Dynamic Range||11 bits per pixel|
|Mission Life Expected||> 10 years|
|Revisit Time||Less than 3 days|
|Orbital Altitude||681 km|
|Nodal Crossing||10:30 a.m.|