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GeoEye-1 Sends First Higher Resolution Images

October 10, 2008

A satellite being used by Google sent its first images back to Earth during a camera test on Tuesday. The satellite is being used to supply images for its online map and navigation services.

Launched September 6, Google-sponsored GeoEye-1 took its first image of the Kutztown University campus in Pennsylvania on Tuesday according to its operator GeoEye Inc. The image was taken while the satellite was in a 423-mile-high (681 km) orbit over the East Coast of the United States.

The Dulles, Virginia-based company provided a link to the image at its Web site.

“We expect the quality of the imagery to be even better as we continue the calibration activity,” said Brad Peterson, GeoEye’s vice president of operations.

The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency is Geo-Eye-1′s primary client, but Google is a major backer of the $500 million satellite so it has the exclusive commercial rights to its images.

However, the higher resolution images will be provided solely for GeoEye-1′s government clients due to national security concerns. The satellite imagery from GeoEye-1 will be of a higher resolution and better quality than what is currently available on Google Maps and Google Earth.

“We are pleased to release the first GeoEye-1 image, bringing us even closer to the start of the satellite’s commercial operations and sales to our customers,” said GeoEye chief executive Matthew O’Connell.

Google has other space expectations as well. Co-founder Sergey Brin is a space buff and has booked a seat on a flight to the International Space Station with the company Space Adventures, which plans to take space tourists to the orbiting space station beginning in 2011.

Image Caption: This image of Kutztown University, Pennsylvania is the first image taken by GeoEye-1. It was collected on Oct. 7, 2008 from 423 miles in space as GeoEye-1 moved down the eastern seaboard of the United States. (click on image to download – credit GeoEye Satellite Image)

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