DULLES, Va., Aug. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — GeoEye, Inc., a provider of satellite, aerial and geospatial information, announced today the launch of the world’s highest resolution, commercial Earth-imaging satellite is scheduled for Sept. 4, 2008, from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), California. The planned launch time is 11:50:57 a.m. PDT (2:50:57 p.m. EDT). A Flight Readiness Review was conducted on Aug. 28 and the launch vehicle, launch range, the GeoEye-1 satellite, and all other program elements are ready for launch.
GeoEye-1 will be lifted into a near-polar orbit by a 12-story-tall United Launch Alliance Delta II 7420-10 configuration launch vehicle. The launch vehicle and associate support services were procured by Boeing Launch Services. The GeoEye-1 satellite is expected to deploy the spacecraft approximately 58 minutes after liftoff and will reach its proper orbit about 90 minutes after launch. In order to achieve the proper orbit, the launch window will only be open for 84 seconds. Once in orbit, GeoEye-1 will undergo system calibration and testing. The company expects to offer imagery and products to customers in the mid- to late-October timeframe.
The GeoEye-1 Satellite
GeoEye-1, designed and built by General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, is the world’s highest resolution commercial imaging satellite. Designed to take color images of the Earth from 423 miles (681 kilometers) in space and moving at a speed of about four-and-a-half miles (seven kilometers) per second, the satellite will make 15 earth orbits per day and collect imagery with its ITT-built imaging system that can distinguish objects on the Earth’s surface as small as 0.41-meters (16 inches) in size in the panchromatic (black and white) mode. The 4,300-pound satellite will also be able to collect multispectral or color imagery at 1.65-meter ground resolution. While the satellite will be able to collect imagery at 0.41-meters, GeoEye’s operating license from NOAA requires re-sampling the imagery to half-meter resolution for all customers not explicitly granted a waiver by the U.S. Government.
The satellite will be able to see an object the size of home plate on a baseball diamond but also map the location of an object that size to within about nine feet (three meters) of its true location on the surface of the Earth without need for ground control points. Together, GeoEye’s IKONOS and GeoEye-1 satellites can collect almost one million square kilometers of imagery per day.
With the ability to revisit any location on the globe every three days, and at lesser resolution more frequently, GeoEye-1 will enable customers to receive imagery updates on a regular basis and is ideal for large-scale mapping projects. This capability will benefit a broad array of industries including national defense and intelligence, online mapping, state and local governments, environmental monitoring and land use management, oil and gas, utilities, disaster management, insurance and others.
Media Attending the Launch on Sept. 4, 2008
Media interested in attending the launch itself must call the 30th Space Wing at the VAFB Public Affairs Office at (805) 606-3595. Questions concerning VAFB launch operations, range safety and weather conditions should be addressed to the 30th Space Wing. Media photographers wishing to place remote cameras at the launch pad should register with Mike Rein of the United Launch Alliance at 321-693-6250 and meet at the VAFB Main Gate by 1:00 p.m. PDT on Sept. 3. On Sept. 4, media attending the launch must meet at the VAFB Main Gate by 10:30 a.m. PDT.
‘Live’ Launch Video Feed
A ‘live’ switched video feed taken from Air Force range cameras will be uplinked to a transmission satellite beginning at about 11:00 a.m. PDT on Sept. 4 with bars and tone. The feed will continue until about one hour after launch or until the satellite has successfully separated from the Delta II.
Satellite transponder and other information needed to downlink the video feed include:
Satellite: AMC-1 C17
Orbital Location: 103 Degrees West
Uplink Frequency: 6265 MHz Vertical
Downlink Frequency: 4040 MHz Horizontal
Audio: 6.2 and 6.8
A one-hour test signal will be broadcast Wednesday, Sept. 3 from VAFB beginning at 1:00 p.m. PDT. The test will include bars, tone and an identifying slate. Prior to the scheduled test media should verify their receiving equipment is capable of receiving C band signals and AMC-1 C17. For additional information on the satellite uplink, contact Boeing Launch Services at (321) 264-8580 or cell (321) 466-4970.
Segments of GeoEye’s corporate b-roll will be fed to the transmission satellite before and after launch.
Watch ‘Live’ on the Internet
The launch video and commentary will be streamed ‘live’ over the Internet beginning at about 11:15 a.m. (PDT) after feeding 15 minutes of bars and tone. The live Web broadcast can be accessed by visiting the GeoEye Web site ) or by going directly to . Boeing’s webcast of the launch may be found at: .