US: DigitalGlobe has launched its sixth and one of the most powerful high-resolution commercial satellites WorldView-3. The satellite was launched on a Lockheed Martin Atlas V rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on 13 August.
"The successful launch of WorldView-3 extends DigitalGlobe's commanding technological lead and will enable us to help our customers see through smoke, peer beneath the ocean's surface and determine the mineral and moisture content of the earth below — all with unprecedented clarity," said Jeffrey R. Tarr, Chief Executive Officer of DigitalGlobe.
WorldView-3 will collect spectral imagery at 31cm resolution. It is equipped with multiple shortwave infrared (SWIR) bands built by Exelis that allow for accurate imaging through haze, fog, dust, smoke and other air-born particulates. It is also equipped with CAVIS, a cloud, aerosol, water vapour, ice and snow atmospheric correction instrument built by Ball Aerospace, which monitors the atmosphere and corrects data for consistency.
"The unmatched abilities that WorldView-3 brings to our constellation will enable us to provide our customers with information and insight never before possible and advance our efforts to create a living digital inventory of the earth," said Tarr.
Next in line: WorldView-4
DigitalGlobe now plans to launch WorldView-4 in mid-2016 with an assured access to 30 centimetre resolution imagery. Following the merger of GeoEye and DigitalGlobe, GeoEye-2 satellite sensors were held back and stored to give launch space for DigitalGlobe’s third-generation satellite in the WorldView series.
GeoEye-2 (now WorldView-4) is of the same general class as GeoEye-1 launched on September 6, 2008. The satellite is capable of collecting multispectral imagery at 1.36-meter (4.46 feet) resolution, and panchromatic imagery at 34 centimetres. Together with WorldView-3 and the rest of DigitalGlobe’s constellation, WorldView-4 will provide DigitalGlobe a near monopoly in the higher resolution commercial imagery market in US.
WorldView-4 would offer customers a choice of ordering BASIC (satellite projection), Geo (geometrically corrected), GeoProfessional (terrain corrected or orthorectified), 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.