Space Imaging, provider of Earth imagery and related services to commercial and government markets, released its top 10 images from its IKONOS satellite taken during 2003. The images, which are featured on Space Imaging’s Web site (www.spaceimaging.com/gallery/top10_2003/), include Baghdad, Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom; a 17th-century fortress in Bourtange, Netherlands; El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, Calif.; the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center; Lake Arrowhead during the devastating 2003 California fires; Mount St. Helens, Wash.; the Vatican City, featuring St. Peter’s Basilica and Square; the Taj Mahal in India; Akkeshi Lake Resort in eastern Hokkaido, Japan; and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, South Africa, one of the ‘Seven Natural Wonders of the World.’
Since its launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. on Sept. 24, 1999, IKONOS has logged many milestones:
· Taken more than 1.5 million images, which are stored in Space Imaging’s digital archive
· Collected more than 188 million sq. km. of the Earth’s surface
· On average collects more than 1,100 images per day, equating to more than 133,000 sq. km. per day
· Completed 23,000 orbits around the earth traveling at 17,000 mph, equating to more than 1 billion kilometers in distance traveled
In mid-2003, satellite builder Lockheed Martin Space Systems released an updated lifetime analysis for the IKONOS satellite. The report, developed with nearly four years of on-orbit operational data, stated the IKONOS subsystems are expected to last longer than originally anticipated. Based on this evaluation, IKONOS’ life expectancy is estimated to be more than eight years, far exceeding the original seven-year design life. IKONOS is expected to perform at full performance until at least the late-2007 timeframe if not longer. Historically, spacecraft far exceed their original design lifetimes and can often be operated successfully for many years, occasionally at degraded levels of performance.