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Names OrbView-5
Mission type Earth observation
Operator DigitalGlobe
(formerly GeoEye)
COSPAR ID 2008-042A
SATCAT no. 33331
Mission duration Planned: 7 years[1]
Elapsed: 10 years, 12 days
Spacecraft properties
Bus SA-200HP[2]
Manufacturer General Dynamics
Launch mass 1,955 kilograms (4,310 lb)
Power 3,862 watts
Start of mission
Launch date 6 September 2008, 18:50:57 (2008-09-06UTC18:50:57) UTC[3]
Rocket Delta II 7420-10, D-335[3]
Launch site Vandenberg SLC-2W[3]
Contractor Boeing / United Launch Alliance[4]
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Sun-synchronous
Semi-major axis 7,057.01 kilometers (4,385.02 mi)[5]
Eccentricity 0.0010274[5]
Perigee 678 kilometers (421 mi)[5]
Apogee 693 kilometers (431 mi)[5]
Inclination 98.12 degrees[5]
Period 98.33 minutes[5]
RAAN 102.31 degrees[5]
Epoch 25 January 2015, 04:49:00 UTC[5]
Main telescope
Diameter 1.1 m (3.6 ft)[6]
Focal length 13.3 m (44 ft)[6]
Resolution Panchromatic: 41 cm (16 in)
Multispectral: 165 cm (65 in)
Bandwidth X band: 150 or 740 Mbps[6]
DigitalGlobe fleet

GeoEye-1 is a high-resolution Earth observation satellite owned by DigitalGlobe, launched in September 2008. The satellite was acquired in the 2013 purchase of GeoEye.


On 1 December 2004, General Dynamics C4 Systems announced it had been awarded a contract worth approximately US$209 million to build the OrbView-5 satellite.[7] Its sensor is designed by the ITT Exelis.

The satellite, now known as GeoEye-1, was originally scheduled for launch in April 2008 but lost its 30-day launch slot to a U.S. government mission which had itself been delayed. It was rescheduled for launch 22 August 2008 from Vandenberg Air Force Base aboard a Delta II launch vehicle.[8] The launch was postponed to 4 September 2008, due to unavailability of the Big Crow telemetry-relay aircraft.[9][10] It was delayed again to 6 September because Hurricane Hanna interfered with its launch crews.

The launch took place successfully on 6 September 2008 at 18:50:57 UTC. The GeoEye-1 satellite separated successfully from its Delta II launch vehicle at 19:49 UTC, 58 minutes and 56 seconds after launch.[11]

Specifications and operation[edit]

GeoEye-1 provides 0.41 m (16 in) panchromatic and 1.65 m (5.4 ft) multispectral imagery in 15.2 km (9.4 mi) swaths. The spacecraft is intended for a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 681 km (423 mi) and an inclination of 98 degrees, with a 10:30 a.m. equator crossing time. GeoEye-1 can image up to 60 degrees off nadir. It is operated out of Dulles, Virginia.

At the time of its launch, GeoEye-1 was the world's highest resolution commercial Earth-imaging satellite.[12] GeoEye-1 was manufactured in Gilbert, Arizona, by General Dynamics and the first image was returned on 7 October of Kutztown University in Pennsylvania.[13]

Google, which had its logo on the side of the rocket, has exclusive online mapping use of its data. While GeoEye-1 is capable of imagery with details the size of 41 centimeters per pixel (16 in/px), that resolution was only available to the U.S. government. Google has access to details of 50 cm per pixel (20 in/px). Prior maximum commercial imagery was 60 cm (24 in).[14]

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Google paid a combined US$502 million for the satellite and upgrades to GeoEye's four ground stations.[15]

2009 anomaly[edit]

In December 2009 GeoEye announced it had suspended imagery collections by GeoEye-1 for a few days, citing an irregularity in the downlink antenna.

The irregularity appears to have contributed to limiting the range of GeoEye-1's downlink antenna movement, which may in turn affect GeoEye-1's ability to image and downlink simultaneously," GeoEye said at a press conference.[16] However, the satellite continued with normal operations shortly thereafter, though with diminished simultaneous imaging-and-downlink capability for non-U.S. clients.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "UCS Satellite Database". Union of Concerned Scientists. 1 September 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "GeoEye 1". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 13 October 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  4. ^ Ray, Justin (6 September 2008). "Delta 335: Mission Status Center". Spaceflight Now. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Peat, Chris (25 January 2015). "GEOEYE 1 - Orbit". Heavens-Above. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Moos, Warren; Eisenstein, Daniel (30 January 2007). "Advanced Dark Energy Physics Telescope (ADEPT)" (PDF). National Academies. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 November 2008. 
  7. ^ "General Dynamics to Build Satellite to Improve U.S. Government Access to High-Resolution Earth Imagery". General Dynamics. 
  8. ^ "GeoEye-1 Launch Details". GeoEye. Archived from the original on 17 October 2008. 
  9. ^ Restatement Pulls GeoEye's Goals Back Down to Earth
  10. ^ Justin Ray. "Delta 2 rocket launch of GeoEye craft postponed". Retrieved 14 August 2008. 
  11. ^ Justin Ray. "Delta 2-335 Mission Status Center". Retrieved 5 September 2008. 
  12. ^ "GeoEye-1 Launch Continues On Track". Seeking Alpha. 11 July 2008. 
  13. ^ "Google's Super Satellite Captures First Image". Wired. 7 October 2008. 
  14. ^ Google to buy GeoEye satellite imagery - August 29, 2008
  15. ^
  16. ^ "GeoEye says satellite glitch could hit 2010 revenue". Reuters. 17 December 2009. 
  17. ^ "GeoEye-1". eoPortal. European Space Agency. Retrieved 13 October 2016. 

External links[edit]