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Remote Sensing


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WorldView-2 is able to act like a paintbrush, sweeping back and forth to collect very large areas of multispectral imagery in a single pass. WorldView-2 alone is able to collect nearly 1 million km2 every day, doubling the collection capacity of our constellation to nearly 2 million km2 per day. And the combination of WorldView-2’s increased agility and high altitude enables it to typically revisit any place on earth in 1.1 days. When added to the satellite constellation, revisit time drops below one day and never exceeds two days, providing the most same-day passes of any commercial high resolution constellation.


WorldView-1, DigitalGlobe's earth imaging satellite, completed a successful launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, U.S.A., at 11:35 Hrs Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) on September 18th, 2007. The Delta II rocket lifted off in good weather and the WorldView-1 satellite is "currently undergoing a calibration and check-out period," according to DigitalGlobe. The first panchromatic image data should become available before October 18th, 2007.


The RapidEye constellation of five satellites stands apart from other providers of satellite-based geospatial information in their unique ability to acquire high-resolution, large-area image data on a daily basis. The RapidEye system collects an unprecedented 4 million square kilometers of data per day at 6.5 meter nominal ground resolution. Each satellite measures less than one cubic meter and weighs 150 kg (bus + payload), and has been designed for at least a seven-year mission life. All five satellites are equipped with identical sensors and are located in the same orbital plane. RapidEye's satellites include the Red-Edge band, which is sensitive to changes in chlorophyll content.


QuickBird is a high resolution satellite owned and operated by DigitalGlobe. Using a state-of-the-art BGIS 2000 sensor (PDF), QuickBird collects image data to 0.61m pixel resolution degree of detail. This satellite is an excellent source of environmental data useful for analyses of changes in land usage, agricultural and forest climates. QuickBird's imaging capabilities can be applied to a host of industries, including Oil and Gas Exploration & Production (E&P), Engineering and Construction and environmental studies


Pleiades-1 satellite is the first very high-resolution satellite from SPOT. The satellite is capable of providing orthorectified color data at 0.5-meter resolution (roughly comparable to GeoEye-1) and revisiting any point on Earth as it covers a total of 1 million square kilometers (approximately 386,102 square miles) daily. Perhaps most importantly, Pleiades-1 is capable of acquiring high-resolution stereo imagery in just one pass, and can accommodate large areas (up to 1,000 km x 1,000 km).


In 1992, the US Congress authorized the procurement, launch and operation of a new Landsat satellite. This new system, Landsat 7, is now under construction and is scheduled for launch in April, 1999. It will be the latest in a series of earth observation satellites dating back to 1972. The twenty-two year record of data acquired by the Landsat satellites constitutes the longest continuous record of the earth's continental surfaces. Preservation of the existing record and continuation of the Landsat capability were identified in the law as critical to land surface monitoring and global change research.


The IKONOS Satellite is a high-resolution satellite operated by GeoEye. Its capabilities include capturing a 3.2m multispectral, Near-Infrared (NIR)/0.82m panchromatic resolution at nadir. Its applications include both urban and rural mapping of natural resources and of natural disasters, tax mapping, agriculture and forestry analysis, mining, engineering, construction, and change detection. It can yield relevant data for nearly all aspects of environmental study. IKONOS images have also been procured by SIC for use in the media and motion picture industries, providing aerial views and satellite photos for many areas around the world. Its high resolution data makes an integral contribution to homeland security, coastal monitoring and facilitates 3D Terrain analysis.


GeoEye's next satellite, GeoEye-2, is in a phased development process for an advanced, third-generation satellite capable of discerning objects on the Earth's surface as small as 0.25-meter (9.75 inch) in size. The company expects to contract with a satellite builder in 2008 and launch the satellite approximately three years after work begins under that contract.


The CBERS-2 identical to CBERS-1 Program was born from a partnership between Brazil and China in the space technical scientific segment. CBERS-1 was launched successfully on October 21, 2003 from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in China. The launch time was 11:16AM (Beijing local time), which corresponds to 1:16AM (Brasilia local time). Satellite images from CBERS-2 are used in important areas, as deforestation and fire control in the Amazon Region, water resources monitoring, urban growth, soil occupation, education and several other applications. One important application is the hydrological basin monitoring by the ANA and SIVAM platform networks, which provides Brazilian river and rain data.


CARTOSAT – 1 is the first Indian Remote Sensing Satellite capable of providing in-orbit stereo images. The images are used for Cartographic applications meeting the global requirements. Cameras of this satellite have a resolution of 2.5m (can distinguish a small car).


The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) is an imaging instrument onboard Terra, the flagship satellite of NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) launched in December 1999. ASTER is a cooperative effort between NASA, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), and Japan's Earth Remote Sensing Data Analysis Center (ERSDAC). ASTER data is used to create detailed maps of land surface temperature, reflectance, and elevation. The coordinated system of EOS satellites, including Terra, is a major component of NASA's Science Mission Directorate and the Earth Science Division. The goal of NASA Earth Science is to develop a scientific understanding of the Earth as an integrated system, its response to change, and to better predict variability and trends in climate, weather, and natural hazards.


The Japanese Earth observing satellite program consists of two series: those satellites used mainly for atmospheric and marine observation, and those used mainly for land observation. The Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) follows the Japanese Earth Resources Satellite-1 (JERS-1) and Advanced Earth Observing Satellite (ADEOS) and will utilize advanced land-observing technology. ALOS will be used for cartography, regional observation, disaster monitoring, and resource surveying.


The SPOT-5 Earth observation satellite was successfully placed into orbit by an Ariane 4 from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou during the night of 3 to 4 May 2002.

The VEGETATION 2 passenger instrument on SPOT-5 also provides continuity of environmental monitoring around the globe, like its predecessor on SPOT-4.

Landsat by NASA

The Landsat Program is a series of Earth-observing satellite missions jointly managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. Since 1972, Landsat satellites have collected information about Earth from space. This science, known as remote sensing, has matured with the Landsat Program.

Landsat satellites have taken specialized digital photographs of Earth’s continents and surrounding coastal regions for over three decades, enabling people to study many aspects of our planet and to evaluate the dynamic changes caused by both natural processes and human practices.