Launch of Delta II rocket carrying GeoEye-1
|Mission type||Earth observation|
|Mission duration||Planned: 7 years |
Elapsed: 12 years, 1 month, 15 days
|Launch mass||1,955 kg (4,310 lb)|
|Payload mass||452 kg (996 lb)|
|Dimensions||4.35 × 2.7 m (14.3 × 8.9 ft) (arrays stowed)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||6 September 2008, 18:50:57UTC|
|Rocket||Delta II 7420-10, D-335|
|Launch site||Vandenberg SLC-2W|
|Contractor||Boeing / United Launch Alliance|
|Semi-major axis||7,057 km (4,385 mi)|
|Perigee altitude||673 km (418 mi)|
|Apogee altitude||685 km (426 mi)|
|Argument of perigee||221.37 degrees|
|Epoch||30 September 2018, 16:31:21 UTC|
|Diameter||1.1 m (3.6 ft)|
|Focal length||13.3 m (44 ft)|
|Resolution||Panchromatic: 41 cm (16 in) |
Multispectral: 165 cm (65 in)
|Bandwidth||X band: 150 or 740 Mbps|
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. 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. The launch was postponed to 4 September 2008, due to unavailability of the Big Crow telemetry-relay aircraft. 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.
GeoEye-1 provides 0.41 m (16 in) panchromatic and 1.65 m (5.4 ft) multispectral imagery at nadir in 15.2 km (9.4 mi) swaths. The spacecraft is in 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. GeoEye-1 was manufactured in Gilbert, Arizona, by General Dynamics and the first image was returned on 7 October of Kutztown University in Pennsylvania.
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).
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 at a press conference. However, the satellite continued with normal operations shortly thereafter, though with diminished simultaneous imaging-and-downlink capability for non-U.S. clients.