Satellite takes a super-close look at Earth

The highest-resolution commercially available imagery of Earth is streaming out of space, courtesy of DigitalGlobe's QuickBird satellite.

The Satelite was lofted into orbit on Oct. 18 and circles the Earth in a 280-mile (450-kilometer) sun-synchronous orbit. That spacecraft track around the planet yields a consistent revisit fly-over of the same spot year-round.

A show-off sampling of QuickBird's high-resolution imagery was made public Dec. 17. For example, a black-and-white image of Bangkok, Thailand, reveals objects on the ground 2 feet (61 centimeters) across. A color shot of McMurdo Station in Antarctica picks up objects 9 feet (2.44 meters) across.

"We now provide the clearest imagery from a commercial imaging satellite, which ensures our customers' expectations are exceeded by the quality of the product," said Herb Satterlee, president and chief executive officer of DigitalGlobe in Longmont, Colo.

"Applications for this imagery include detailed mapping, resource management, urban planning, telecommunications, and agriculture with new markets and applications yet to be developed," Satterlee said in a company statement.

The satellite has progressed halfway through the verification and calibration period. Full commercial operations are slated to begin in July 2002. Operated by DigitalGlobe, the QuickBird satellite was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation of Boulder, Colo.

Screenshot: Image from the satellite #1

Screenshot: Image from the satellite #2

Screenshot: Image from the satellite #3

News source: MSNBC - Satellite takes a super-close look at Earth

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