Credit: United Launch Alliance
By Jonathan Stroud
The WorldView 4 satellite, built by Lockheed Martin for operator DigitalGlobe, is a commercial Earth Observation Satellite that will image 263,000 square miles (680,000 square km) of the planet’s surface per day. The satellite has double the capacity of its predecessor, the WorldView 3, which is still in service providing quality high-res data.
According to Jeffrey Tarr, DigitalGlobe chief executive office, “WorldView 4 will substantially increase our ability to image the world with the resolution, accuracy and clarity far beyond that of all other commercial providers, enabling us to better serve our international defense and intelligence customers and advance new commercial use cases.”
The estimated service life span of the WorldView 4 is 10 to 12 years and it will take panchromatic and multispectral images from a wide range of angles and distances.
Why Should I Care?
You should care because the capability to process high-resolution images of the planet allows for enhanced U.S. national security as well as stronger global security. It also provides global security information to intelligence analysts and commercial users.
You should also care because a successful launch by United Launch Alliance, or any American manufacturer, helps progress the American foothold in space. Since the end of the shuttle program, NASA has had to rely on Russia to travel to the International Space Station (ISS). After NASA’s contract to send Americans on the Soyuz expires in early 2019, they plan to rely on private American companies to send humans to space.
According to Satellite Imagine Corps, the WorldView 4, as seen above, is 5.3 m (17.7 ft) tall, 2.5 m (8 ft) across, 7.9 m (26 ft) across with deployed solar arrays, and an aperture of 1.1m. The satellite will orbit at an altitude of 617 km (383 mi) and weighs approximately 2,500 kilograms (5511.5lbs).
The Atlas V 401 used to launch the satellite into orbit was a 4-m payload fairing, 0 solids, 1 upper-stage engine as seen below.
Find out more about the Atlas V rocket by Clicking here.
Check out a video of the launch below.
Make sure to keep up with the latest rocket launches and space-related news at Journalists For Space.