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Space Imaging releases IKONOS satellite image of Mecca, Saudi Arabia taken during the Hajj pilgrimage

This one-meter resolution commercial satellite image of Mecca (Makkah), Saudi Arabia was collected on Feb. 22, 2002 at 11:20 a.m. local time by Space Imaging’s IKONOS satellite. The image shows a large number of Muslims during the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Each year approximately two million Muslims from around the world visit Mecca to fulfill an once-in-a-lifetime religious obligation — one of the five pillars of Islam. Pilgrims visit the Haram Al Sharif (Grand Mosque) and encircle the Kaaba, the oldest house of worship in the world according to the Koran. This is visible in the center of the image. The annual Hajj is performed in the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar. IKONOS travels 423 miles above the Earth’s surface at a speed of 17,500 miles per hour. It’s the world’s first commercial high-resolution remote sensing satellite.