DigitalGlobe’s IKONOS Satellite Retired After 15 Years Of On-Orbit Operation

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

May 18, 2015 – DigitalGlobe’s IKONOS commercial imaging satellite, built by Lockheed Martin, was retired on March 31 after a more than 15-year service life. The satellite was owned and operated by DigitalGlobe, Inc., and performed on-orbit for more than double its original design life.

“Over the last 15 years IKONOS captured the moments of both triumph and tragedy that have shaped our world,” said Mike Hamel, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Commercial Space. “Its high resolution images have helped make everyone from first responders and farmers to city planners and surveyors more effective and informed. So much of our technology today relies on publicly-available satellite imagery that it’s easy to take this technology for granted, but IKONOS was a real trailblazer that proved the value of space systems to our world.”

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. Other famous images include bird’s-eye views of Olympic villages and the island of Bora Bora.

IKONOS was the first satellite to share public images of many of Earth’s greatest beauties, including a photo of the Bora Bora islands in the French Polynesia collected on October 25, 2001. Image Credit: DigitalGlobe/Lockheed Martin

IKONOS was the first satellite to share public images of many of Earth’s greatest beauties, including a photo of the Bora Bora islands in the French Polynesia collected on October 25, 2001. Image Credit: DigitalGlobe/Lockheed Martin

Over its lifetime, IKONOS collected more than 400 million square kilometers of earth imagery – equivalent to more than 40 times the land area of the United States of America.

Lockheed Martin is completing the WorldView-4 (previously GeoEye-2) satellite for DigitalGlobe. WorldView-4 is a next generation high-resolution imaging satellite that will provide multispectral imagery to commercial, government and international customers once launched in 2016. Lockheed Martin has built more than 300 remote sensing satellites for commercial, civil and military customers.

KONOS, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, on September 24, 1999, and has taken thousands of photos of the earth for national security, disaster relief, agriculture and more. Carried aboard an Athena rocket, IKONOS traveled into a Low Earth Orbit, approximately 400 miles above the earth. Image Credit; Lockheed Martin

KONOS, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, on September 24, 1999, and has taken thousands of photos of the earth for national security, disaster relief, agriculture and more. Carried aboard an Athena rocket, IKONOS traveled into a Low Earth Orbit, approximately 400 miles above the earth. Image Credit; Lockheed Martin