Thank you for your interest in GeoEye and our next-generation, Earth-imaging satellite, GeoEye-2, which will be operational in 2013. The satellite program has already met an array of important milestones in 2012, while staying on time and on budget. We hope this site serves as a valuable tool for you to learn more about GeoEye-2’s unprecedented image quality, advanced technology and related news updates as they unfold.
GeoEye-2 will have the highest resolution of any commercial imaging system. It will collect images with a ground resolution of 34cm (13.4 inch) in the panchromatic or black-and-white mode. It will collect multispectral or color imagery at 1.36-meter (54 inch) resolution. This advanced resolution will offer our customers unprecedented, precise views for mapping, change detection and image analysis. Although the U.S. government will require GeoEye-2 imagery to be re-sampled from 34cm collection to 50cm products, this will result in better, clearer, sharper 50cm satellite imagery than previously available.
Besides unsurpassed spatial resolution, GeoEye-2 will offer exceptional geolocation accuracy, which means that customers will be able to map natural and man-made features to better than 5-meter CE90 (specification) and 3- to 4-meter CE90 (expected) of their actual location on the Earth’s surface without ground control points. GeoEye-2 will have control moment gyroscopes (CMGs), with highly accurate star trackers, to provide superior acceleration for faster slews between targets. This degree of inherent accuracy has never been achieved in any commercial imaging system. It will remain unchallenged even when future commercial systems are launched.
Though it stands two stories high and weighs more than two tons, GeoEye-2 is designed to deftly train its ITT Exelis camera on multiple targets during a single orbital pass. It will rotate or swivel forward, backward or side-to-side with robotic precision. This unrivaled agility will enable it to collect much more imagery during a single pass with faster scan rates.
GeoEye-2 will make 15 orbits per day flying at an altitude of 681 km (423 miles), with an orbital velocity of 7.5 km/sec (16,800 mile/hour). Its sun-synchronous orbit will allow it to pass over a given area at about 10:30 a.m. local time every day. Given its planned altitude and sun-synchronous orbit, field of view and superior resolution, GeoEye-2 will be able to “revisit” any point on the globe every three days or sooner, depending upon the required look angle.
Together with GeoEye-1 and IKONOS, the GeoEye constellation provides daily access to any point on the Earth’s surface.
GeoEye implemented Enhanced Line Rate imaging technology in May 2012, which enables GeoEye-1 to collect and fulfill large area orders more quickly. It will also be part of GeoEye-2’s capabilities when it becomes operational in the first half of 2013. Imagery products collected at the new Enhanced Line Rate continue to set the standard for the highest quality and accuracy for half-meter resolution, color imagery. GeoEye-2 is being built on the LM-900 satellite bus, which is based on the same spacecraft design for the IKONOS imaging bus that has been operational since September 1999. The LM-900 bus provides precision pointing on an ultra-stable, highly agile platform to deliver extremely high imagery resolution, unparalleled image quality and fast delivery time to our customers.
GeoEye-2’s optical telescope, detectors, focal plane assemblies and high-speed digital processing electronics are capable of processing 1,300 million pixels per second at a 24,000 line per second rate. Its agile camera allows for side-to-side extensions of the camera’s 14.5-kilometer (9.44 miles) swath width or multiple images of the same target during a single pass to create a stereo image. The GeoEye-2 camera has a longer focal length than GeoEye-1 or IKONOS, which enables better resolution. Significant advancements to the sensor subsystem improve image quality.
GeoEye-2 customers will have a choice of ordering BASIC (satellite projection), Geo (geometrically corrected), GeoProfessional (terrain corrected or ortho-rectified), or GeoStereo (stereo pair) products, as well as imagery-derived products, including Digital Elevation Models (DEMs), Digital Surface Models (DSMs), large-area mosaics and feature maps.
Earth Imagery Provides Clear Insight
Each day, organizations in defense and intelligence, public safety, critical infrastructure, energy and online media rely on GeoEye’s imagery, tools, and expertise to support important missions around the world.
GeoEye’s long history of collecting the best commercial imagery allows customers to make the best decisions using accurate visual records. For example, the frequency of natural disasters like tsunamis, hurricanes and earthquakes has increased the utility of satellite imagery for risk assessment, response and recovery. GeoEye is often the first to deliver commercial satellite imagery to the U.S. government, foreign governments, commercial customers and humanitarian agencies following a major disaster.
GeoEye has upgraded its centralized command-and-control ground station facility at its headquarters in Herndon, Virginia based on existing satellite communications infrastructure and new best-of-breed technologies. This advanced operations center will send tasking and operating commands to the satellite and receive data downlinks from it. The integrated constellation system will optimize tasking and collection for greater efficiency with less effort. Three other stations are operated or leased by GeoEye in Barrow, Alaska; Tromso, Norway and Troll, Antarctica. GeoEye is adding new ground terminals in Dongara, Australia and Mauritius. These new terminals will provide the company with additional downlink capabilities that shorten delivery timelines and add downlink capacity to support GeoEye-2 imaging operations in 2013.
The Thornton, Colorado regional operational facility has also been upgraded as a back-up ground station for all satellite collection planning, production, exploitation and analysis, and dissemination technologies. The St. Louis, Missouri production services group has a 23-year heritage in production support and provides the unique capability of merging and processing multiple sources of data from a wide range of government and commercial sources into a single, precise and seamless value-added product.
GeoEye-2 Launch Animation