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WorldView-2 satellite sensor from DigitalGlobe provides 8-band multispectral imagery. It was launched on October 8, 2009 from Vandenberg Air Force Base on a Delta II rocket to become DigitalGlobe’s third satellite in orbit, joining WorldView-1 which was launched in 2007 and QuickBird which was launched in 2001. It takes a new photograph of any place on Earth every 1.1 days. The overall objective was to meet the growing commercial demand for high-resolution satellite imagery (0.46 cm Pan, 1.8 m MS at nadir – representing one of the highest available spaceborne resolutions on the market).

Worldview-2 specifications

Launch InformationDate: October 8, 2009
Launch Vehicle: Delta 7920 (9 strap-ons)
Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
OrbitAltitude: 770 km
Type: Sun synchronous, 10:30 am descending node
Period: 100 min.
Mission Life10-12 years, including all consumables and degradables (e.g. propellant
Spacecraft Size, Mass and Power5.7 m (18.7 ft) tall x 2.5 m (8 ft) across
7.1 m (23 ft) across the deployed solar arrays
2615 kg (5765 lbs)
3.2 kW solar array, 100 Ahr battery
Sensor BandsPanchromatic: 450 – 800 nm
8 Multispectral:
Coastal: 400 – 450 nm     Red: 630 -690 nm
Blue: 450 – 510 nm           Red Edge: 705 – 745 nm
Green: 510 – 580 nm        Near-IR1: 770 – 895 nm
Yellow: 585 – 625 nm       Near-IR2: 860 – 1040 nm
Sensor ResolutionPanchromatic: 0.46 m GSD at nadir, 0.52 m GSD at 20° off-nadir
Multispectral: 1.85 m GSD at nadir, 2.07 m GSD at 20° off-nadir
Dynamic Range11-bits per pixel
Swath Width16.4 km at nadir
Attitude Determination and Control3-axis stabilized
Actuators: Control Moment Gyros (CMGs)
Sensors: Star trackers, solid state IRU, GPS
Pointing Accuracy and Knowledge3-axis stabilized
Accuracy: <500 m at image start and stop
Knowledge: Supports geolocation accuracy below
Retargeting AgilityTime to Slew 200 km: 10 sec
Onboard Storage2199 Gb solid state with EDAC
CommunicationsImage and Ancillary Data: 800 Mbps X-band
Housekeeping: 4, 16 or 32 kbps real-time, 524 kbps
stored, X-band
Command: 2 or 64 kbps S-band
Max Contiguous Area Collected in a Single Pass (30° off-nadir angle)Mono: 138 x 112 km (8 strips)
Stereo: 63 x 112 km (4 pairs)
Revisit Frequency (at 40°N Latitude)1.1 days at 1 m GSD or less
3.7 days at 20° off-nadir or less (0.52 m GSD)
Geolocation Accuracy(CE90)Demonstrated <3.5 m CE90 without ground control
Capacity1 million km2 per day

WorldView-2, like its predecessor WorldView-1, was designed by Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation. The advanced CMGs (Control Moment Gyroscopes) provided by Ball Aerospace for WorldView-2, as well as for DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-1, afford the satellites the flexibility to capture more imagery than ever before. This high-performance technology provides acceleration up to 10 times that of other attitude control actuators and improves both maneuvering and targeting capability, while reducing slew time from over 60 seconds to only 9 seconds to cover 300 km. This means WorldView-2 is able to rapidly swing precisely from one target to another, allowing extensive imaging of many targets, as well as stereo, in a single orbital pass.

Common spacecraft bus of WorldView-1 and -2 (image credit: DigitalGlobe)
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