September 11, 2016 – The WorldView-4 satellite, built by Lockheed Martin for DigitalGlobe, Inc., has been encapsulated in its protective launch vehicle fairing. It is scheduled to launch September 16 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
For encapsulation, WorldView-4 was connected to an adapter and then enclosed in the four-meter fairing or “nose cone.” The satellite will now be transported by truck to Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Space Launch Complex 3 East in California, where it will be lifted by crane and mated with the Atlas rocket.
“Encapsulation is the last time people will ever lay eyes on this satellite before it launches to space,” said Steve Skladanek, president of Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services. “Our Atlas rocket is ready to provide WorldView-4 a smooth ride and precise delivery into orbit.”
The Atlas V 401 rocket is provided by Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services.
WorldView-4 is the latest in a series of imaging and data satellites built by Lockheed Martin for customers around the world. The satellite is outfitted with a camera so accurate it can discern the make and model of a car, advanced star trackers to ensure precision pointing, and antennas that share the collected information back to Earth.
Once launched, the satellite will more than double DigitalGlobe’s coverage of the world’s highest-resolution 30 cm commercial satellite imagery and increase the rate at which it grows its 16-year library of time-lapse, high-resolution imagery. WorldView-4 will orbit Earth every 90 minutes, traveling 17,000 miles per hour and capturing as much as 680,000 square kilometers of the Earth’s surface daily (18 terabytes) – the equivalent of the land area of Texas.
DigitalGlobe has also included a cubesat rideshare program on the ULA Atlas V rocket. The cubesats will be launched by use of ULA’s Centaur Aft Bulkhead Carrier that has flown successfully on four previous Atlas V missions. All of the cubesats manifested for the WorldView-4 mission are sponsored by the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office and are unclassified technology demonstration programs.
DigitalGlobe, headquartered in Westminster, Colorado, is a leading provider of commercial high-resolution earth observation and advanced geospatial solutions that help decision makers better understand our changing planet in order to save lives, resources and time.