Wednesday - Aug 23, 2017

WorldView-3 Satellite now poised to capture super high resolution images

WorldView-3 Satellite now poised to capture super high resolution images

Members of the business community who make use of satellite imagery, such as found on Google and Bing Maps will soon notice them getting a lot clearer with the near future, thanks to a brand new satellite launched on Thursday 14th of August.

The satellite, DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-3 satellite, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, came after the US Department of Commerce announced a few months ago their plans to relax some of their restrictions to allow commercial companies such as DigitalGlobe to sell higher-resolution imagery to customers like Google and Microsoft.

Satellite imagery has long been limited to 50cm resolution, however the Commerce Department will now permit satellite operators to capture and sell resolution images at the much higher 25cm level.

According to a spokesperson for DigitalGlobe allowing access to the highest available resolution is extremely important because it directly correlates with the amount of information you can extract from an image. “Once an image is collected, new information can’t be added through software or processing tricks. You can make a sharp image blurry, but not the other way around.” Summed up the DigitalGlobe statement.

DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-3 satellite, the World’s first multi-payload, super-spectral, high resolution commercial satellite, will operate at an altitude of 617 km (383 miles) and will be equipped with the technological capability to gather up to 680,000 square kilometers of imagery per day, up to the level of being able to capture a license plate number.

The satellite was launched from an Atlas V rocket provided by Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services (LMCLS), who hold an exclusive contract to provide Atlas rockets for all non-U.S. Government customers. Lockheed is part of the United Launch Alliance, a 50-50 joint venture owned by Lockheed and The Boeing Company, dating back to 2006.

WorldView-3 will be the 47th Atlas V mission since its inaugural flight in 2002, as part of a total of 117 successful consecutive Atlas going back more than two decades.

DigitalGlobe also plans to use its technology to provide multispectral imaging for agricultural or urban planning, as well as in cloud-piercing infrared views for tracking fires.

Photo credit: DigitalGlobe

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