US: DigitalGlobe has received notice from the US Department of Commerce on its application to allow the company to sell higher resolution commercial satellite imagery. Effective immediately, the approvals will permit DigitalGlobe to sell imagery to all of its customers at up to 0.25m panchromatic and 1.0m multispectral ground sample distance (GSD) beginning six months after its next satellite WorldView-3 is operational.
WorldView-3 is scheduled to launch, August 13 or 14, 2014 from Vandenberg Air Force base. The company currently operates a fleet of five high-resolution earth imaging satellites. Two of those satellites — GeoEye-1 and WorldView-2 — collect imagery sharper than 0.50m, and all customers will have access to that imagery at the highest native resolution. WorldView-3 will provide even higher resolution at 0.31m, and the GeoEye-2 satellite, which is substantially complete, will capture similarly sharp images when it is launched to replace a satellite currently in service or as an expansion to the constellation once warranted by market demand.
"We are very pleased and appreciative that the US Department of Commerce under the leadership of Secretary Penny Pritzker, with support from the US Departments of Defense and State and the Intelligence Community, has made this forward-leaning change to our nation's policy that will fuel innovation, create new high-tech jobs, and advance the nation's commanding lead in this strategically important industry," said Jeffrey R. Tarr, DigitalGlobe CEO.
Additionally, DigitalGlobe also announced that it plans to shift the WorldView-1 satellite into a different orbit, in which it will image the earth in the afternoon local time each day. This shift will optimise the DigitalGlobe constellation to monitor changes on the earth at various times during the day. The company claims that with this change in orbit, customers will be able to image a particular area with multiple satellites in the morning and again with WorldView-1 in the afternoon thus providing consistent views of Earth over much of the day.
Commenting on Twitter – AAM Group, a distributor of DigitalGlobe Imagery said, they are delighted about this news and that they can now deliver higher resolution DigitalGlobe satellite imagery to their customers.