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Organization DigitalGlobe
Mission Type Earth observation
Contractor Ball Aerospace & Technologies[1]
Satellite of Earth
Launch October 18, 2001 on a Delta 7320-10 D288
Launch site Vandenberg Air Force Base SLC-2W
Mission duration 5 years
Mass 1018 kg (launch)
Webpage http://www.digitalglobe.com/company/content-collection/quickbird
Orbital elements
Semi-major axis 6828 km
Inclination 98 degrees
Orbital Period 93.4 minutes
Visible cameras 60 cm panchromatic

2.4 meter multispectral

QuickBird is a high-resolution commercial earth observation satellite, owned by DigitalGlobe and launched in 2001[2] as the first satellite in a constellation of three scheduled to be in orbit by 2008. QuickBird uses Ball Aerospace's Global Imaging System 2000 (BGIS 2000)[1] that collects the fourth highest resolution commercial imagery of Earth after WorldView-1, WorldView-2 and GeoEye-1 and boasts the largest image size and the greatest on-board storage capacity of any satellite. The satellite collects panchromatic (black and white) imagery at 60 centimeter resolution and multispectral imagery at 2.4- and 2.8-meter resolutions.

At this resolution, detail such as buildings and other infrastructure are easily visible. However, this resolution is insufficient for working with smaller objects such as a license plate on a car. The imagery can be imported into remote sensing image processing software, as well as into GIS packages for analysis. The imagery can also be used as a backdrop for mapping applications, such as Google Earth and Google Maps.

Contractors include Ball Aerospace & Technologies, Kodak and Fokker Space.

QuickBird I[edit]

The first QuickBird was launched in November 2000, by EarthWatch from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia. QB-1 failed to reach planned orbit and was declared a failure.[3]



  • 60 cm (24 in) (1.37 μrad) panchromatic at nadir
  • 2.4 m (7 ft 10 in) (5.47 μrad) multispectral at nadir
    • MS Channels: blue (450-520 nm), green (520-600 nm), red (630-690 nm), near-IR (760-900 nm)

Swath width and area size

  • Nominal swath width: 18 km at nadir
  • Accessible ground swath: 544 km centered on the satellite ground track (to 30° off nadir)
  • Area of interest
    • Single area: 18 km by 18 km
    • Strip: 18 km by 360 km


  • Altitude: 482 km – 98 degree sun synchronous inclination
  • Revisit frequency: 1 to 3.5 days depending on latitude at 60 cm resolution
  • Viewing angle: Agile spacecraft, in-track and cross-track pointing
  • Period 94.2 minutes

Onboard storage

  • 128 Gigabit capacity (approximately 57 single area images)


  • Fueled for 7 years
  • 2100 lb (950 kg), 3.04 m (10 ft) in length


See also[edit]


External links[edit]