Encyclopedia Astronautica

American civilian surveillance satellite. First launch 2007.09.18. DigitalGlobe's WorldView satellite provided highly detailed imagery for precise map creation, change detection and in-depth image analysis.

Best resolution available to commercian customers was 50 cm. However higher-resolution images were sold to DigitalGlobe's main customer, the US National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA).

The sattelite was an ultra-stable 3-axis stabilized platform, using high-precision attitude sensors and GPS. Control Moment Gyros (CMGs) provided orientation and Star trackers, a solid state IRU, and GPS provided positional and orientation data . Rapid retargeting was possible using the Control Moment Gyros (>2x faster than any competitor) . WorldView collected, stored and downlinked a greater supply of frequently updated global imagery products than competitive systems. It offered the broadest range of collection sizes, without sacrificing capacity from small points to long strips and large areas.

Stereoscopic areas could be imaged on a single pass, ensuring image continuity and consistency of quality. Direct downlink to customer sites was available using the same high-speed 800 Mbps X-band downlink. This expedited image processing and delivery to customers where speed was a driving factor. WorldView extended the range of suitable imaging collection targets and enhanced image interpretability, because images could be acquired at even the lowest light levels. Frequent revisits increased image collection opportunities, enhanced change detection applications and enabled accurate map updates


  • Highest resolution available commercially: 50 cm panchromatic at nadir / 55 cm out to 20 off-nadir
  • Geolocation Accuracy predicted performance in the range of 3.0 to 7.6 meters CE90, excluding terrain and off-nadir effects. With registration to GCPs in image: 2.0 meters (6.6 feet) CE90
  • 17.6 km width imaging swath (wider than any competitor)
  • 2199 gigabits on-board storage
  • 800 Mbps X-band data downlink
  • World-class telescope with high contrast (MTF) and signal to noise ratio, selectable Time Delay Integration (TDI) levels, 11-bit dynamic range
  • Revisits at high resolution: 1.7 days at 1 m GSD or less; 5.4 days at 20 off-nadir or less (51 cm GSD = Ground Sample Distance)
  • Orbit: 496 kilometers Sun synchronous, 10:30 am descending node, 94.6 minute period
  • Sensor Bands: Panchromatic
  • Panchromatic: Sensor Resolution: 0.50 meters GSD at nadir / 0.55 meters GSD at 20 off-nadir (note that imagery must be re-sampled to 0.5 meters for non-US Government customers)
  • Dynamic Range: 11-bits per pixel
  • Time Delay Integration (TDI): 6 selectable levels from 8 to 64
  • Swath Width: 17.6 kilometers at nadir
  • Pointing Accuracy & Knowledge: Accuracy: <500 meters at image start and stop Knowledge: Supports geolocation accuracy below
  • Retargeting Agility: Acceleration: 2.5 deg/s/s; Rate: 4.5 deg/s; Time to slew 300 kilometers: 9 seconds
  • Onboard Storage: 2199 gigabits solid state with EDAC
  • Communications: Image and Ancillary Data: 800 Mbps X-band; Housekeeping: 4, 16 or 32 kbps real-time, 524 kbps stored, X-band
  • Command: 2 or 64 kbps S-band
  • Max Viewing Angle / Accessible Ground Swath: Nominally +/-40 off-nadir = 858 km wide swath. Higher angles selectively available
  • Per Orbit Collection: 331 gigabits
  • Max Contiguous Area Collected in a Single Pass: 60 x 110 km mono; 30 x 110 km stereo
  • Revisit Frequency: 1.7 days at 1 meter GSD or less; 5.9 days at 20 off-nadir or less (0.51 meter GSD)
  • Geolocation Accuracy: Specification of 12.2m CE90, with predicted performance in the range of 3.0 to 7.6 meters (10 to 25 feet) CE90, excluding terrain and off-nadir effects; With registration to GCPs in image : 2.0 meters (6.6 feet)


Electric System: 3.20 kWh.

AKA: BCP-5000.
Gross mass: 2,500 kg (5,500 lb).
Height: 2.50 m (8.20 ft).
Diameter: 3.60 m (11.80 ft).
First Launch: 2007.09.18.
Last Launch: 2009.10.08.
Number: 2 .

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • Delta The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Development began in 1955 and it continued in service in the 21st Century despite numerous candidate replacements. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Delta American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Delta began as Thor, a crash December 1955 program to produce an intermediate range ballistic missile using existing components, which flew thirteen months after go-ahead. Fifteen months after that, a space launch version flew, using an existing upper stage. The addition of solid rocket boosters allowed the Thor core and Able/Delta upper stages to be stretched. Costs were kept down by using first and second-stage rocket engines surplus to the Apollo program in the 1970's. Continuous introduction of new 'existing' technology over the years resulted in an incredible evolution - the payload into a geosynchronous transfer orbit increasing from 68 kg in 1962 to 3810 kg by 2002. Delta survived innumerable attempts to kill the program and replace it with 'more rationale' alternatives. By 2008 nearly 1,000 boosters had flown over a fifty-year career, and cancellation was again announced. More...
  • Delta 7920-XC Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K with 3.05 m (10 foot) diameter composite fairing More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC2W Delta launch complex. Originally a Thor 75 SMS launch pad. Upgraded to a space launch complex in 1966. More...

WorldView Chronology

2007 September 18 - . 18:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7920-XC. LV Configuration: Delta 7920-10C D326.
  • WorldView 1 - . Mass: 2,500 kg (5,500 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: Martin. Class: Surveillance. Type: Civilian surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: WorldView. USAF Sat Cat: 32060 . COSPAR: 2007-041A. Apogee: 496 km (308 mi). Perigee: 492 km (305 mi). Inclination: 97.5000 deg. Period: 94.50 min. Summary: Spacecraft was equipped with a 0.6-m aperture telescope for high resolution surveillance. Civilian, but primary customer was to be the US National Geospatial Intelligence Agency..

2009 October 8 - . 18:51 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7920-X. LV Configuration: Delta 7920-X s/n D345.
  • WorldView-2 - . Mass: 2,615 kg (5,765 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: Martin. Class: Surveillance. Type: Surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: WorldView. USAF Sat Cat: 35946 . COSPAR: 2009-055A. Apogee: 769 km (477 mi). Perigee: 766 km (475 mi). Inclination: 98.5000 deg. Period: 100.20 min. Summary: Commercial 0.5-meter-resolution, 8-band imaging satellite..

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