High-res com­mer­cial satel­lite launches from Cal­i­for­nia coast

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -


A com­mer­cial satel­lite ca­pa­ble of tak­ing high-res­o­lu­tion im­ages from space was launched on Fri­day from a mil­i­tary base along the Cal­i­for­nia coast. The satel­lite known as World­View-4 was lifted into or­bit atop an At­las 5 rocket from Van­den­berg Air Force Base.

World­View-4 is the lat­est in a se­ries of imag­ing satel­lites built by Lock­heed Martin. It is op­er­ated by Colorado-based Dig­i­talGlobe, which pro­vides high-res­o­lu­tion im­ages for gov­ern­ment and pri­vate cus­tomers in­clud­ing first re­spon­ders.

The cam­era aboard the satel­lite is so sharp that it can spot the make of a car from nearly 400 miles above Earth, ac­cord­ing to Lock­heed Martin. It joins sis­ter satel­lite, World­View-3, which launched from the Van­den­berg base in 2014. Both satel­lites can cap­ture im­ages of ob­jects as small as 1foot across.

Fri­day was the ninth launch for United Launch Al­liance this year. ULA, a joint ven­ture by Lock­heed Martin and Boe­ing Co., has launched 112 times since it was founded in 2006. Its next launch is a NASA weather satel­lite sched­uled for next week from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

World­View-4 was sup­posed to launch in Septem­ber, but was post­poned by a mi­nor tank leak and two wildfires at the sprawl­ing base, which en­com­passes nearly 156 square miles (405 square kilo­me­ters) along the Pa­cific Ocean.

The fires forced the evac­u­a­tion of ad­min­is­tra­tive build­ings, but did not af­fect the launch com­plex. Fire­fight­ers who were as­signed to the launch were di­verted to cor­ralling the flames.

A fire­fighter died and an­other was hurt when the water truck they were in over­turned on a high­way out­side the city of Lom­poc, miles from the fire lines. —AP

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