Orbital Sciences Corporation announced that it has shipped the OrbView-3 high-resolution imaging satellite to its launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), CA. Upon arriving at VAFB, the spacecraft will be mated and integrated with the company’s Pegasus launch vehicle that will carry the OrbView-3 satellite into low-Earth orbit. Orbital built OrbView-3 for Orbital Imaging Corporation (ORBIMAGE) at the company’s satellite manufacturing facility in Dulles, VA. The satellite is currently scheduled to be launched in approximately 45 days. The OrbView-3 satellite will supply high-resolution optical imagery of the Earth using its onboard camera that will take one-meter resolution panchromatic (black-and-white) and four-meter resolution multispectral (color and infrared) images of the entire planet. In its 470 km circular orbit inclined at 97 degrees to the equator, the satellite will revisit all locations on Earth in less than three days, enabling ORBIMAGE to continually update its imagery catalogue. ORBIMAGE’s control center in Dulles, VA is equipped to provide full telemetry, tracking and command of the OrbView-3 satellite, as well as the archiving of imagery data and the distribution of the imagery products to customers.
Imagery from the OrbView-3 satellite will complement existing GIS data for commercial, environmental and civil government and U.S. national security customers. One-meter panchromatic imagery will clearly depict houses, automobiles and aircraft and will make it possible to create precise digital maps and three-dimensional fly-through scenarios. Four-meter multispectral imagery will help to characterize cities, rural areas and undeveloped land. Orbital’s Pegasus is the world’s leading launch system for the deployment of small satellites into low-Earth orbit. Its patented air-launch system, in which the rocket is launched from beneath Orbital’s “Stargazer” L-1011 carrier aircraft over the ocean, reduces cost and provides customers with unparalleled flexibility to operate from virtually anywhere on Earth with minimal ground support requirements. The OrbView-3 mission will be the 34th flight of the Pegasus rocket since its inaugural launch in 1990. Orbital develops and manufactures small space systems for commercial, civil government and military customers. The company’s primary products are spacecraft and launch vehicles, including low-orbit, geostationary and planetary spacecraft for communications, remote sensing and scientific missions; ground- and air-launched rockets that deliver satellites into orbit; and missile defense boosters that are used as interceptor and target vehicles. Orbital also offers space-related technical services to government agencies and develops and builds satellite-based transportation management systems for public transit agencies and private vehicle fleet operators.