Lockheed Martin Satellite Celebrates 15 Years In Orbit

IKONOS was the first satellite to collect and publicly share high-resolution images of Earth. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

IKONOS was the first satellite to collect and publicly share high-resolution images of Earth. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

Denver, Colorado. September 25, 2014 – IKONOS, built by Lockheed Martin for DigitalGlobe, Inc., celebrated its 15th birthday on-orbit this week.

IKONOS was the first satellite to collect and publicly share high-resolution images of Earth and was a predecessor to DigitalGlobe’s WorldView satellite systems.

Launched on September 24, 1999, IKONOS has taken thousands of photos of Earth for applications in land management, environmental monitoring, local and regional government, national security, disaster relief, news gathering, and many other geospatial applications.

IKONOS was the first satellite to capture and share public images of many of the world’s most iconic spots, as well as some of the country’s natural and man-made disasters. IKONOS took one-meter resolution satellite images of Manhattan, New York in the days following September 11, 2001. The images show the remains of the World Trade Center and are the only high-resolution view taken from above the destruction of the Twin Towers.

IKONOS continues to perform more than seven years beyond its initial design life, collecting 0.82-meter resolution black-and-white imagery and 3.28-meter resolution multi-spectral data. IKONOS travels in low earth orbit, approximately 400 miles above the earth and currently circles the globe every 98 minutes.

“This milestone is one more chapter in the legacy of our expertise in earth imaging. Lockheed Martin has provided more than 300 remote sensing satellites to commercial, civil and military customers,” said Mike Hamel, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin commercial space.

Most recently, Lockheed Martin built the WorldView-4 satellite, which will serve as DigitalGlobe’s next high-resolution imaging satellite to provide multi-spectral imagery to commercial, government, and international customers. The satellite is planned for launch in mid-2016.