A Note from Apollo Mapping: February certainly has been a big month for DigitalGlobe with the official announcement of their combination with GeoEye and now this news on the pending launch of WorldView-3 (WV3). To say that WV3 marks a major milestone in high-resolution satellite imaging is putting it mildly. Not only will WV3 feature nearly 1-foot panchromatic and close to 1-meter multispectral (MS) resolution, it will now offer 8 short-wave infrared bands in addition to the 8 MS bands already offered by WorldView-2. It is also of note that DigitalGlobe has decided to ground the launch of GeoEye-2 which makes sense given the high-resolution constellation they will have in orbit by 2014.
02/04/13 – DigitalGlobe, Inc. (NYSE: DGI) (“DigitalGlobe”) today announced that its previously planned satellite construction program related to its third WorldView-class satellite remains on track.
DigitalGlobe can now confirm that it plans to complete WorldView-3 on its original schedule to be ready for launch in mid-2014 in order to meet the requirements of its EnhancedView contract with the U.S. government. That contract calls for completion and launch of WorldView-3, which will offer the most spectral diversity available commercially and be the first to offer multiple Short-Wave Infrared bands that allow for accurate imaging through haze, fog, dust, smoke and other air-born particulates. DigitalGlobe’s largest customer, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), has confirmed the requirements of DigitalGlobe’s EnhancedView contract remain unchanged.
Accordingly, following its just completed combination with GeoEye, DigitalGlobe intends to complete the construction of GeoEye-2 in 2013 and to preserve it as a ground spare to meet customer demand or as a replacement for other on-orbit satellites. Previously, GeoEye had expected to launch GeoEye-2 in 2013.
“After careful consideration and discussions with our largest customer and others, we have determined that launching WorldView-3 and preserving GeoEye-2 as a ground spare will best meet the collective needs of customers and shareowners alike,” said Jeffrey R. Tarr, President and Chief Executive Officer. “This plan reduces our risk profile and capital footprint, while giving our customers access to the most advanced earth observation capabilities available commercially. Furthermore, as we move forward, if demand exceeds our expectations, we will be well positioned to quickly expand our constellation. GeoEye-2 and WorldView-3 are extraordinary satellites, and I want to thank all of our team members and partners for their continued efforts toward their completion.”
Since completing its combination with GeoEye, DigitalGlobe now provides customers with access to a constellation of five earth observation satellites and a broad suite of high-value geospatial production and analytic services. Customers will benefit from a larger constellation with optimized orbits, and coordinated scheduling will collect imagery faster, increase persistence and enhance resilience.
DigitalGlobe intends to provide full-year 2013 financial guidance and an updated capital expenditure forecast when it announces fourth quarter 2012 and full year 2012 earnings on February 26, 2013.
WorldView-3 is expected to be the first super-spectral, high-resolution commercial satellite. Operating at an expected altitude of 617 km, WorldView-3 will provide 31 cm panchromatic resolution, 1.24 m multispectral resolution in 8 spectral bands, and 3.7 m Short-Wave Infrared resolution in an additional 8 spectral bands. WorldView-3 will be capable of collecting up to 680,000 km2 per day, bringing the collection capacity of the DigitalGlobe constellation to over 4.2-million sq km per day. Launching in 2014, the WorldView-3 system will allow DigitalGlobe to further expand its imagery product offerings. For more information, please visit: www.digitalglobe.com/worldview3.