GeoEye-1 is a high-resolution Earth observation satellite owned by DigitalGlobe, launched in September 2008. The satellite was acquired in the 2013 purchase of GeoEye.

Launch of Delta II rocket carrying GeoEye-1 (080906-F-5195D-002).jpg
Launch of Delta II rocket carrying GeoEye-1
Mission typeEarth observation
(formerly GeoEye)
COSPAR ID2008-042A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.33331
Mission durationPlanned: 7 years[1]
Elapsed: 14 years, 8 months, 27 days
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerGeneral Dynamics
Launch mass1,955 kg (4,310 lb)[3]
Payload mass452 kg (996 lb)[3]
Dimensions4.35 × 2.7 m (14.3 × 8.9 ft) (arrays stowed)[3]
Power3,862 watts[3]
Start of mission
Launch date6 September 2008, 18:50:57 (2008-09-06UTC18:50:57) UTC[4]
RocketDelta II 7420-10, D-335[4]
Launch siteVandenberg SLC-2W[4]
ContractorBoeing / United Launch Alliance[5]
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
Semi-major axis7,057 km (4,385 mi)
Perigee altitude673 km (418 mi)
Apogee altitude685 km (426 mi)
Inclination98.12 degrees
Period98.34 minutes
RAAN347.09 degrees
Argument of perigee221.37 degrees
Epoch30 September 2018, 16:31:21 UTC[6]
Main telescope
Diameter1.1 m (3.6 ft)[7]
Focal length13.3 m (44 ft)[7]
ResolutionPanchromatic: 41 cm (16 in)
Multispectral: 165 cm (65 in)
BandwidthX band: 150 or 740 Mbps[7]
DigitalGlobe fleet


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.[8] 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.[9] The launch was postponed to 4 September 2008, due to unavailability of the Big Crow telemetry-relay aircraft.[10][11] 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.[5]

Specifications and operationEdit

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.[3][12][13] GeoEye-1 can image up to 60 degrees off nadir. It is operated out of Dulles, Virginia.[14]

At the time of its launch, GeoEye-1 was the world's highest resolution commercial Earth-imaging satellite.[15] GeoEye-1 was manufactured in Gilbert, Arizona, by General Dynamics and the first image was returned on 7 October of Kutztown University in Pennsylvania.[16]

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).[17]

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Google paid a combined US$502 million for the satellite and upgrades to GeoEye's four ground stations.[18]

2009 anomalyEdit

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.[19] However, the satellite continued with normal operations shortly thereafter, though with diminished simultaneous imaging-and-downlink capability for non-U.S. clients.[20]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "UCS Satellite Database". Union of Concerned Scientists. 1 September 2013. Archived from the original on 4 January 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  2. ^ "GeoEye 1". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e "GeoEye Satellite Imagery". Apollo Mapping. 2018.
  4. ^ a b c McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  5. ^ a b Ray, Justin. "Delta 335: Mission Status Center". Spaceflight Now. Archived from the original on 20 November 2008.
  6. ^ Peat, Chris (30 September 2018). "GEOEYE 1 - Orbit". Heavens-Above. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  7. ^ a b c Moos, Warren; Eisenstein, Daniel (30 January 2007). "Advanced Dark Energy Physics Telescope (ADEPT)" (PDF). National Academies. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 November 2008.
  8. ^ Jacques, Fran (1 December 2004). "General Dynamics to Build Satellite to Improve U.S. Government Access to High-Resolution Earth Imagery" (Press release). General Dynamics. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011.
  9. ^ "GeoEye-1 Launch Details". GeoEye. Archived from the original on 17 October 2008.
  10. ^ Goldfarb, Zachary A. (14 August 2008). "Restatement Pulls GeoEye's Goals Back Down to Earth". Washington Post.
  11. ^ Ray, Justin (12 August 2008). "Delta 2 rocket launch of GeoEye craft postponed". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
  12. ^ Paradella, Waldir Renato; Cheng, Philip (January–February 2013). "Automatic DEM Generation Using GeoEye-1 Stereo Data in Mining Application". GeoInformatics. 16: 10–12.
  13. ^ Cheng, Philip (July–August 2014). "Mapping Large Areas: Satellite Imageries with Limited Ground Control". GeoInformatics: 18–20. S2CID 14100742.
  14. ^ "GeoEye-1 Gives Google Highest Resolution Imagery". University of California, Santa Barbara. 10 September 2008.
  15. ^ Fernandez, Chris (11 July 2008). "GeoEye-1 Launch Continues On Track". Seeking Alpha.
  16. ^ Chen, Brian X. (7 October 2008). "Google's Super Satellite Captures First Image". Wired.
  17. ^ Shankland, Stephen (29 August 2008). "Google to buy GeoEye satellite imagery". CNet.
  18. ^ Rothman, Wilson (8 October 2008). "Google GeoEye-1 Satellite Takes First Pic (Is that Your House?)". Gizmodo.
  19. ^ Sharma, Divya (17 December 2009). "GeoEye says satellite glitch could hit 2010 revenue". Reuters.
  20. ^ "GeoEye-1". eoPortal. European Space Agency. Retrieved 13 October 2016.

External linksEdit