High Resolution Satellites: IKONOS, OrbView, and QucikBird


1. IKONOS satellites by Space Imaging




The IKONOS satellite was launched on September 24, 1999 into a sun-synchronous, near-polar, circular low-earth orbit with an altitude of 681 kilometres above the earth, inclination of 98.1 degrees, orbit time of 98 minutes, and swath width of 11 km. It simultaneously collects one-meter resolution black-and-white (panchromatic) images and four-meter resolution colour (multispectral) images. The revisit frequency of the satellite is 2.9 days at 1-meter resolution and 1.5 days at 1.5-meter resolution. Moreover, users can acquire IKONOS imagery according to programmed requests based on client's Area of Interest (AOI) co-ordinates.

2. OrbView satellites by ORBIMAGE


ORBIMAGE is a leading global provider of Earth imagery products and services, with a planned constellation of four digital remote sensing satellites. The company currently operates the OrbView-1 atmospheric imaging satellite launched in 1995, the OrbView-2 ocean and land multispectral imaging satellite launched in 1997, and a worldwide integrated image receiving, processing and distribution network.

OrbView-3 high-resolution earth imaging satellite was successfully launched into space on 26 June 2003. The OrbView-3 satellite will supply high-resolution optical imagery of the Earth with its onboard camera that will take one-meter resolution panchromatic (black-and-white) and four-meter resolution multispectral (color) images of the entire planet. The satellite, in its final 470 km circular orbit inclined at 97 to the equator, will have a revisit time of three days or less, enabling ORBIMAGE to continually update its imagery archive. From its control center in Dulles, Virginia ORBIMAGE will provide full telemetry, tracking and tasking of the OrbView-3 satellite based on orders received from its customers and international distributor partners.


3. QuickBird Satellites by DigitalGlobeTM




The QuickBird satellite is the first in a constellation of spacecraft that DigitalGlobeTM is developing that offers highly accurate, commercial high-resolution imagery of Earth. Today, DigitalGlobe's QuickBird is the only spacecraft able to offer sub-meter resolution imagery, industry-leading geolocational accuracy, large on-board data storage, and an imaging footprint 2 to 10 times larger than any other commercial high-resolution satellite.



Launch Information

Date: October 18, 2001
 Launch Vehicle: Delta II
Launch Site: SLC-2W, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California


Altitude: 450 km - 98 degree, sun-synchronous inclination
Revisit frequency: 1 to 3.5 days depending on latitude at 70-centimeter resolution
Viewing angle: Agile spacecraft - in-track and cross-track pointing
Period: 93.4 minutes

Swath Width & Area Size

Nominal swath width: 16.5-kilometers at nadir
Accessible ground swath: 544-km centered on the satellite ground track (to ~30 off nadir)
Areas of interest:

  Single Area - 16.5 km x 16.5 km

  Strip - 16.5 km x 165 km

Sensor Resolution & Spectral Bandwidth


  61-centimeter GSD (Ground Sample Distance) at nadir

  Black & White: 445 to 900 nanometers


  2.44-meter GSD at nadir

  Blue: 450 to 520 nanometers    Green: 520 to 600 nanometers

  Red: 630 to 690 nanometers    Near-IR: 760 to 900 nanometers


Highest resolution sensors available commercially

  61-cm (2-ft) panchromatic at nadir   2.44-m (8-ft) multispectral at nadir

Fastest large area collection

  16.5-km width imaging swath    128 Gbits on-board image storage capacity


Industry-leading image accuracy

  Stable platform for precise location measurement

  3-axis stabilized, star tracker/IRU/reaction wheels, GPS

Geolocate features to within 23 meters (75.5 feet) and create maps in remote areas without the use of ground control points