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US launches high-resolution spy satellite into space

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The United States has launched into space a surveillance satellite capable of capturing images of objects only one foot (30 centimeters) across.

Colorado-based company DigitalGlobe owns and operates the World View 3 satellite, which was flown into space on board an Atlas 5 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California’s Central Coast on Wednesday.

The project is joined by Lockheed Martin and the United Launch Alliance.

A statement from the company said the resolution will be fine enough to distinguish home plate at a baseball game. The device is also fitted with an infrared sensor that will allow it to see through fog and smoke.

The US government is DigitalGlobe’s number one customer.

Jeff Dierks, WorldView-3 program manager at Ball Aerospace, which built the spacecraft for DigitalGlobe, has said, “A WorldView satellite has a unique capability to basically image anywhere in the world within a day. That’s tough to do with an airplane.”

Kumar Navulur, DigitalGlobe’s director of next-generation products, said on Tuesday, “We can actually tell you, for each individual tree, how healthy it is.” “And potentially there are models that can estimate the yield of each individual tree. That’s the power of information we are bringing to the table with WorldView-3.”


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