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Mission type Earth observation
Operator GeoEye
COSPAR ID 2008-042A
SATCAT № 33331
Mission duration 7 years planned[1]
Spacecraft properties
Manufacturer General Dynamics
Launch mass 1,955 kilograms (4,310 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date September 6, 2008, 18:50:57 (2008-09-06UTC18:50:57Z) UTC[2]
Rocket Delta II 7420-10
Launch site Vandenberg SLC-2W
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Sun-synchronous
Semi-major axis 7,057.01 kilometers (4,385.02 mi)[3]
Eccentricity 0.0010274[3]
Perigee 678 kilometers (421 mi)[3]
Apogee 693 kilometers (431 mi)[3]
Inclination 98.12 degrees[3]
Period 98.33 minutes[3]
RAAN 102.31 degrees[3]
Epoch January 25, 2015, 04:49:00 UTC[3]

GeoEye-1 is a high-resolution earth observation satellite owned by GeoEye, which was launched in September 2008.


On December 1, 2004, General Dynamics C4 Systems announced it had been awarded a contract worth approximately $209 million to build the OrbView-5 satellite.[4] Its sensor is designed by the ITT Exelis.

The satellite, now known as GeoEye-1, was originally scheduled for April 2008 but lost its 30-day launch slot to a U.S. government mission which had been delayed. It was rescheduled for launch August 22, 2008 from Vandenberg Air Force Base aboard a Delta II launch vehicle.[5] The launch was postponed to September 4, 2008, due to unavailability of the Big Crow telemetry-relay aircraft.[6][7] It was delayed again to September 6 because Hurricane Hanna interfered with its launch crews.

The launch took place successfully on September 6, 2008 at 11:50:57 a.m. PDT (18:50:57 UTC). The GeoEye-1 satellite separated successfully from its Delta II launch vehicle at 12:49 p.m. PDT (19:49 UTC), 58 minutes and 56 seconds after launch.[8]

Specifications and operation[edit]

Mass at launch 1,955 kg (4,310 lb)
Bus mass 1,260 kg (2,780 lb)
Solar panels GaAs, 3862W at the end of the life.
Data Downlink 150 or 740 Mbit/s, X-Band.
Aperture 1.1 m (3.6 ft)
Focal length 13.3 m (44 ft)
Field of View more than 1.28°
Design lifetime 7 years in orbit, fully redundant.

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.[10] GeoEye-1 was manufactured in Gilbert, Arizona by General Dynamics and the first image was returned on October 7, of Kutztown University in Pennsylvania.[11]

Google, which has 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 cm (16 in), that resolution will only be available to the US government. Google will have access to details of 50 cm (20 in). Prior maximum commercial imagery was 60 centimeters (24 in).[12]

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Google both paid $502 million for the satellite and upgrades to GeoEye's four ground stations.[13]

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 limit the range of movement of GeoEye-1's downlink antenna, which may in turn affect GeoEye-1's ability to image and downlink simultaneously," GeoEye said.[14]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]