DigitalGlobe's Worldview-3 satellite is set to launch in mid-August. The satellite will provide high-resolution images of the Earth in the coming months.
The Worldview-3 satellite will launch atop Atlas V rocket on August 13 from the Space Launch Complex 3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The satellite is expected to reach an altitude of 617km before it starts its operations. The satellite will have an average revisit time of just under a day, which will allow it to take up to 680,000 sq. kilometers of imagery every day. The data from Worldview-3 will assist in the management of farms and forests and also in the discovery of new sources of minerals and fuels.
Commercial satellite companies were not allowed to sell images of 50 centimeters or better to people apart from the U.S. government. However, the rule has changed and from early 2015, the government has reduced the limit to 30 centimeters, which will allow Worldview-3 satellite to sell images consumers.
Tech companies Microsoft and Google are existing customers of DigitalGlobe and the latest relaxation in rules mean that people will have access to even high quality images on some services such as Bing Maps and Google Earth.
DigitalGlobe launched the Worldview-2 satellite in Oct. 2009 and Kumar Navulu, DigitalGlobe's director of next-generation products, says that the images taken by the company's existing satellite is used for urban planning by local and state governments.
"This will extend our industry leadership, capture more of our customers' mapping and monitoring missions, provide an even stronger foundation on which to grow our Geospatial Big Data and analytic capabilities, and uniquely address pressing global challenges. By placing this asset on orbit where it can generate revenue rather than storing it on the ground, we will improve returns and create shareowner value," says Jeffrey R. Tarr, President and Chief Executive Officer of DigitalGlobe, regarding the changes in rules for satellite resolution imagery.
The change in rule means a lot for DigitalGlobe as the company recently announced that it is also planning to launch the Worldview-4 satellite in 2016, which will provide even better images to the consumers.
DigitalGlobe will start selling satellite images after six months of Worldview-3's operation in the space, which means that the company's consumers will have to wait until 2015 before they can get better quality images from the satellite.