GeoEye-1 was launched five weeks ago from the California based Vandenberg Air Force base. This satellite has signaled its first set of pictures the quality and detail of which is unprecedented. While Google Earth and Google Maps will be able to provide sharper and clearer pictures, the benefit of all the details will go to the military and other commercial customers.
GeoEye is on orbit 423 miles above our planet. This satellite was developed by geospatial information provider and aerial GeoEye. Kutztown University was the first shot snapped by GeoEye-1 as soon as the camera doors were opened. This university is situated between Allentown and Reading in Penn. As compared to previous satellite images, the image taken by GeoEye shows details which are amazingly sharp. This image was taken at a ground resolution of 0.41 meters.
Details include track and field, parking lots, athletic fields, roads and academic buildings. While the image was captured the GeoEye was moving from north to south 423 miles above the earth. It was traveling at a speed of 4.5 miles per second.
ITT provided the imaging system for this satellite which was constructed by General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems. The GeoEye is a part of the NextView program of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and its mission is to provide the agency high quality commercial imagery. While the technology enables GeoEye to capture images as small as 16 inches on the earth’s surface, it is restricted by licensing regulations to provide images not lesser than a ground resolution of half a meter.’
About Ground Stations
GeoEye upgraded a centralized command and control ground station facility at its headquarters in Dulles, Virginia. This operations center will send tasking and operating commands to the satellite and receive data downlinks from it. Three other stations will be operated or leased by GeoEye in Barrow, Alaska; Tromso, Norway and Troll, Antarctica. The four ground stations will provide the primary data reception needed due to the large volume of imagery that will be captured by the satellite. The Thornton, Colorado regional operational facility has also been upgraded as a back-up ground station for GeoEye-1.