GeoEye-1 on Orbit

The world’s highest resolution commercial Earth-imaging satellite, GeoEye-1, was successfully placed into orbit by a Delta II rocket that was fired from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., on Sept. 6. “Based upon the data we saw, the satellite is performing properly,” Bill Schuster, GeoEye, Inc., chief operating officer, said in the company’s release that same day. The satellite’s launch was delayed earlier this month when Tropical Storm Hanna prevented launch technicians on the East Coast from traveling to California. GeoEye-1, which will simultaneously collect 0.41-meter-resolution black-and-white images and 1.65-meter color photos, is expected to start operations later this year, according to the company. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency funded the development and procurement of GeoEye-1 under its NextView program that is meant to ensure that the US government has access to timely commercial imagery to support national security functions. GeoEye already operates the Ikonos and OrbView-2 imagery satellites.