Eye in the Sky
September 6, 2008: “Google Satellite” GeoEye-1 Launched
After 5 months of delays, the high resolution earth observation satellite, GeoEye-1, is launched from Vandenburg Air Force Base. Owned by the corporation GeoEye, Inc., GeoEye-1 is capable of taking high resolution images with detail of down to 16 inches. However, the US Government has restricted that resolution for its own use. Commercial usage is limited to resolutions with detail down to 20 inches.
As the exclusive licensee of the images for online mapping purposes, Google had its logo on the Delta II rocket that was used to launch GeoEye-1.
The bird, which is basically an ultra high-resolution digital camera with a huge telescope attached, is able to deliver clear views of objects measuring just 20 inches across.
The satellite is able to resolve even sharper images than that, down to 16 inches, but the government won’t let us see those pics for security reasons. We’re thinking it might be able to see even smaller objects, but they’re just not telling us.