Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has begun integration for WorldView-3, the next generation commercial remote-sensing satellite being built for DigitalGlobe, a leading global provider of high-resolution earth imagery solutions.
The third satellite in a series to employ the Ball Commercial Platform 5000, WorldView-3 is slated for launch in mid-2014. For more than a decade Ball Aerospace has partnered with DigitalGlobe to deliver increasingly advanced imaging satellites, including WorldView-2 in 2009, WorldView-1 in 2007, and QuickBird in 2001.
“Our experience building spacecraft for DigitalGlobe has allowed for quick progress on WorldView-3,” said Cary Ludtke, vice president and general manager of Ball’s Operational Space business unit. “WorldView-3 will be a highly capable spacecraft based on a low risk design with proven results. We’re eager for it to join DigitalGlobe’s growing constellation.”
Currently the integration of the control moment gyroscopes and the propulsion module is underway in anticipation of the ITT Exelis imaging sensor delivery in mid-2013. Following successful sensor integration and checkout, environmental testing of the completed satellite is scheduled to begin in this fall.
WorldView-3 will offer 31 centimeter resolution panchromatic, 1.24 meter resolution eight-band multispectral and 3.72 meter resolution eight-band Short Wave Infrared (SWIR) imagery. U.S. government restrictions require DigitalGlobe’s imagery provided to non-U.S. government customers be limited to no more than 50 centimeters panchromatic, 2.0 meter multispectral or, 7.5 meter SWIR.
WorldView-3 builds upon the WorldView-2 and WorldView-1 technology by carrying forward the satellite’s advanced CMGs. The CMGs reorient a satellite over a desired collection area in 4-5 seconds, compared to 30-45 seconds needed for traditional reaction wheels. As WorldView-3 joins the modern fleet of WorldView-class satellites, DigitalGlobe will have the largest high resolution satellite imagery collection capacity in the industry.
In addition, the range of customer applications enabled by the DigitalGlobe constellation and overall value DigitalGlobe can provide to customers is greatly expanded by issuance of a license from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to collect eight-band short-wave infrared imagery. Jeff Culwell, vice president of DigitalGlobe’s data business line notes this will allow WorldView-3 the ability to sense both the visible spectrum as well as deeper into the infrared spectrum that provides a rich dataset to precisely identify different manmade and natural materials.