Delta Launches WorldView-1

Google Earth users may soon be enjoying higher-resolution images of our little blue planet, thanks to yesterday’s launch of the Worldview 1 satellite.


The AP gives a summary: 

The WorldView 1 satellite, built for DigitalGlobe, which supplies much of Google Earth’s imagery, was lofted into space aboard a Delta 2 rocket [from Vandenberg Air Force Base]. The satellite separated from the rocket about an hour after liftoff and was circling 300 miles (480 kilometers) above Earth.

WorldView 1 was designed to collect up to 290,000 square miles’ (750,000 square kilometers’) worth of imagery a day — an area about the size of Texas. Information gathered by the 5,000-pound (2,270-kilogram) probe can be used by governments and companies to assess damage after a natural disaster or plan escape routes before a catastrophe, the company said.

Images and details about the bird can be found on the DigitalGlobe website. Features include an "ultra-stable platform, high-precision attitude sensors and GPS" that "allows the creation of accurate maps in remote areas, maximizing the utility of whatever resources are available," as well as the "highest commercially available" resolution, with direct downlink of those images available to customer sites using a high-speed 800 Mbps X-band downlink.



The Worldview 1 satellites was built by Ball Aerospace. Check out their online media kit, including high-resolution photos of the satellite.

Worldview 2, also being built by Ball Aerospace, is slated for completion in late 2008.