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Atlas V Rocket Launches Sharp-Eyed Earth-Observing Satellite ( 19

An anonymous reader quotes a report from A super-powerful Earth-observing spacecraft has finally taken to the skies, nearly two months after a wildfire nixed its first launch attempt. The WorldView-4 satellite lifted off today (Nov. 11) at 1:30 p.m. EST (10:30 a.m. local time; 1830 GMT), riding a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex-3 at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base to a near sun-synchronous, pole-to-pole orbit. In addition, seven tiny cubesats were onboard in a "ridesharing" initiative. All of the cubesats manifested for the WorldView-4 mission are sponsored by the National Reconnaissance Office, the agency in charge of the United States' spy satellites, and are unclassified technology-demonstration programs. The Atlas-V that lofted WorldView-4 today had been scheduled to launch NASA's InSight Mars lander earlier this year, before issues with one of InSight's instruments delayed the Red Planet probe's liftoff until 2018. WorldView-4 is a multispectral, high-resolution commercial imaging satellite owned and operated by DigitalGlobe of Westminster, Colorado, and built by the aerospace company Lockheed Martin. Its mission is to provide high-resolution color imagery to commercial, government and international customers. Once in operation, WorldView-4 has a global capacity to image 260,000 square miles (680,000 square kilometers) per day. You can watch the launch video here via United Launch Alliance.
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Atlas V Rocket Launches Sharp-Eyed Earth-Observing Satellite

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  • The cubesats were shipped, as in having been transported by ship. The term has been around since the 14th century and yes, it spaceships qualify as ships. This buzzword brain virus bullshit needs to be killed.

    • Actually, ridesharing might be appropriate in this case - the cubesats arent paying for their launch, they are hitching a ride with the NRO satellite to a usable orbit. This is actually quite common - many payloads are launched with ballast for weight and balance reasons, and quite often you can get a cheap or free launch for a small satellite such as a cubesat so long as it doesn't interfere with the primary payload.

  • by dwywit ( 1109409 ) on Saturday November 12, 2016 @05:09AM (#53270365)

    I've just spent 40 minutes watching shuttle and apollo launch footage. Got to stop followng launch video links.

    • I've just spent 40 minutes watching shuttle and apollo launch footage. Got to stop followng launch video links.

      I too, get completely stuck on rocket launches and space stuff. But isn't the Saturn V a freakin' monster? And the Soyuz is just pretty as a rocket can get.

      Check out Amy Shira Teitel's stuff on Youtube. Vintage Space [] is a good place to start.

    • While Kennedy Space Center offers the best view of launches (launchpads surrounded by lots of flat land), if you're in California it can be worth it to drive to Vandenberg to view a launch of one of the larger rockets. It's only about 2.5 hours from Los Angeles, 4 hours from San Francisco. The launch pads are on an Air Force base surrounded by hills so you probably won't be able to see the initial liftoff.* But there are several locations [] which will allow you to see the rocket after it's gained a bit of
  • by rew ( 6140 ) <> on Saturday November 12, 2016 @06:39AM (#53270521) Homepage

    Let me get this straight..... Meteosat images 500 million square kilometers some 16 times a day, and this satelite does a whopping 680 thousand per day....

    The number only becomes impressive when you include resolution figures. (Meteosat is pretty low-res).

    • Let us just say we saw you type this, and the drone is on its way.
      • by stoicio ( 710327 )

        At 30cm resolution, I don't think you see typing. You see people that look like Minecraft.

        With the newer military keyhole sats maybe you could define the shape of a gun (2cm - 3cm resolution).
        If the orbit was right and the atmospheric conditions were clear.
        WorldView-4 is for public consumption, which means the resolution lags behind actual capabilities by a few years to allow military to stay ahead.

    • Meteosat doesn't really map the earth surface, it maps the cloud surface, 16 times a day.
  • So it will take at least 750 days to map the whole earth. That is kinda slow for something that orbits every 90 minutes or so.
    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      It's in a sun-synchronous orbit. That means it's set up to take pictures of what is under it at a certain time of day. Also given it's high resolution it no doubt takes a very narrow picture -- like looking at the Earth through a straw. It might well take that long to image the entire surface of the Earth, especially as you have to have the weather cooperate.

    • He has called for NASA to get out of the Earth Sciences area (after all, that AGW stuff is all a Chinese hoax), and focus on making Mars Great again or something.... []

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Since, until now, no real photos of the complete Earth have ever been taken?

The solution of this problem is trivial and is left as an exercise for the reader.