Seeing is Believing: Top 6 IKONOS Satellite Images
The IKONOS satellite, built by Lockheed Martin, celebrates its 15th birthday on-orbit September 24, 2014. As the first satellite to collect and publically share high-resolution earth images, IKONOS has performed more than double its original design life of seven years.
Today, IKONOS continues to perform more than seven years beyond its initial design life, collecting 0.82-meter resolution black-and-white imagery while simultaneously collecting just better than four-meter resolution multispectral data. Here are six highlights from the IKONOS mission so far:
IKONOS, 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 and currently circles the globe every 98 minutes.
Credit and Source: Lockheed Martin
Capturing Earth's Splendor
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. The image centers on Bora Bora's main island, referred to as "The Marvelous Island," located 240 kilometers northwest of Tahiti.
While IKONOS has captured some of Earth’s greatest splendor, it has also documented our most grave moments. IKONOS took one-meter resolution satellite images of Manhattan, New York, in the days following the September 11, 2001, attack. These images show the remains of the towers of the World Trade Center and are the only high-resolution 'view from above' of the fire and destruction of the twin towers. On the right, the debris and dust that has settled throughout the area and emergency and rescue vehicles are visible in the streets.
Credit: Space Imaging
Using near-infrared light spectrum imagery, Ikonos captured the fury of the 2003 fires in San Bernardino County in Southern California. In these images, the bright red areas show green or living vegetation. The blackened or charred areas in the satellite images show areas that have been burned by wildfires.
Seeing into Deep Space
This image of Jupiter with its moon was taken during a Field Angle Map Stellar Collection, which uses the stars collected to map the optics and sensor geometry during calibration. Jupiter was in the field of view of one of these collections.
IKONOS captured the following image of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics Whistler Olympic Park in the Callaghan Valley, west of Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. The park includes two ski jumps (HS 106 and HS 140 metre), cross country and biathlon trails, and recreational trails.