Minimize GeoEye-1

GeoEye-1 (OrbView-5)

GeoEye-1, formerly known as OrbView-5, is the next-generation high-resolution imaging mission of GeoEye, Dulles, VA, USA. In January 2006, the commercial imaging company GeoEye Inc. was formed, made up of former Orbimage of Dulles VA, and of former Space Imaging of Thornton, CO (Orbimage acquired Space Imaging in 2005 and gave the merged company the new name of GeoEye). The newly formed GeoEye company is the world's largest commercial satellite imagery provider.

On Sept. 30, 2004, OrbImage was awarded a NextView vendor contract of NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency). The contract, referred to as NextView OrbImage, provides long-term revenue commitments as well as capital for the development of OrbView-5. NGA's NextView program is designed to give US commercial imaging satellite operators the financing to build their satellites for high-resolution imaging.

GeoEye's principal partners for the development and launch of the GeoEye-1 satellite include General Dynamics (formerly Spectrum Astro), ITT Industries (imager), and Boeing Launch Services. GeoEye's partners for the ground segment include IBM and MDA (MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates) of Richmond, BC, Canada. 1) 2) 3)

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Figure 1: Artist's view of the GeoEye-1 spacecraft (image credit: General Dynamics Corp.)

Spacecraft:

The GeoEye-1 spacecraft is being designed and developed at General Dynamics/C4 Systems of Gilbert, AZ (formerly Spectrum Astro) as prime contractor. The contract was award in Dec. 2004. The spacecraft design is based on the SA-200HP standard modular bus (of Coriolis and SWIFT heritage). The spacecraft is 3-axis stabilized with a sophisticated attitude control system to provide a highly stable, while also highly agile imaging platform.

A body-pointing capability of up to ± 60º is being provided, made possible by enhanced reaction wheels (low jitter). The image geolocation accuracy is ≤ 3 m. The spacecraft mass is 1955 kg (bus mass = 1260 kg), the S/C design is fully redundant with an operational life of 7 years (the expected life is 10 years). 4) 5) 6) 7)

Spacecraft dimensions

4.35 m x 2.7 m (stowed configuration)

Structure & Thermal

- An optical bench, attached to the spacecraft through kinematic mounts, provides precise thermally controlled alignment of the instruments
- Passive cold-biased thermal system, thermostatically-controlled heaters

C&DH (Command & Data Handling) subsystem

- Standard cPCI backplane/bus, RAD750 CPU, block redundant with automated handover to backup
- MIL-STD-1553B data bus
- 1 Tbit of onboard storage capacity (EOL)

ADCS (Attitude Determination and Control Subsystem)

- 3-axis stabilized, (8) high-performance RWAs (Reaction Wheel Assemblies)
- ZMB (Zero Momentum Bias) stabilization
- Dual-head star tracker,
- SIRU (Scaleable Inertial Reference Unit) gyroscopes
- 10-cell coarse sun sensor,
- GPS receivers (2),
- EM torque rods (3), and a TAM
- Bi-axial gimbal drive for antenna pointing
- Pointing accuracy (3σ): 75 arcsec
- Pointing knowledge (3σ): 0.4 arcsec
- Attitude Jitter: 0.007 arcsec/s rms (25 - 2000 Hz)

Onboard propellant

144.5 kg (adequate for a 15 year supply)

Thrusters

8, each of 22.2 N

Spacecraft power

- Deployable, 7-panel solar array (GaAs), 3862 W EOL
- Battery of 160 Ah capacity, NiH2 CPV

Launch mass

1955 kg (bus mass of 1260 kg)

Table 1: Overview of GeoEye-1 spacecraft parameters

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Figure 2: Photo of the dual-head star tracker (image credit: GeoEye)

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Figure 3: Photo of the Monarch GPS receiver (left) and the SIRU instrument (right), image credit: GeoEye

 

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Figure 4: Accommodation of optical units on the GeoEye-1 spacecraft (image credit: GeoEye, Ref. 13)

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Figure 5: Alternate view of the GeoEye-1 spacecraft (image credit: General Dynamics Corp.)

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Figure 6: Photo of GeoEye-1 during test and integration phase (image credit: General Dynamics Corp.)

 

Launch: GeoEye-1 was launched on Sept. 6, 2008 on a Delta-2 (7420-10) vehicle from VAFB, CA. The launch provider was ULA (United Launch Alliance). 8)

Orbit: Sun-synchronous circular orbit, altitude = 681 km, inclination = 98º, period = 98 minutes, local equatorial crossing at 10:30 hours, effective revisit time capability ≤ 3 days.

RF communications: The source data are being stored on solid-state onboard recorders of 1.2 Tbit capacity. The downlink of imagery in X-band at 740 Mbit/s (or at 150 Mbit/s), the TT&C data are in S-band. The S/C is being operated from the command and control facility at GeoEye headquarters in Dulles, VA, along with an imagery acquisition station. Three other acquisition stations will be operated or leased by GeoEye in Barrow, AK, Tromsø, Norway and Troll, Antarctica (the TrollSat station is located at 72º S and 2º E). The latter two stations are being leased from KSAT (Kongsberg Satellite Services) of Tromsø, Norway.
A total of four stations are needed to handle primary data reception due to the large volume of data that will be captured by the satellite. In addition, GeoEye will continue to support a network of receiving stations owned and operated by local business partners, referred to as Regional Affiliates and Regional Distributors.

Ground segment: GeoEye has built a fully integrated receiving, processing, and distribution network for delivering high-quality imagery products to customers around the world.

In late 2006, GeoEye purchased high-bandwidth, high-performance computer technology from SGI (Silicon Graphics Inc.). Four SGI Altix systems were installed at the Dulles (VA) ground station for data processing, distribution, and archiving services.

 


 

Mission status:

• In 2014, the GeoEye-1 spacecraft of DigitalGlobe and its payload are operating nominally completing 6 years on orbit in Sept. 2014.

• In 2013, the GeoEye-1 spacecraft and its payload are operating “nominally”.

On January 31, 2013, DigitalGlobe and GeoEye have completed their merger, creating a global leader in Earth imagery and geospatial analysis. 9) 10)

• In 2012, the GeoEye-1 spacecraft and its payload are operating “nominally”. The satellite imagery is used for a variety of purposes, including but not limited to defense, disaster response, air and marine transportation, oil and gas exploration, mining production and exploration, mapping of remote regions, location-based services, insurance and risk management, agricultural crop management, etc.

Several geolocation accuracy studies of the imagery were performed. 11) 12)

Period

Mono

Stereo

 

# images

CE90 (m)

RMSE (m)

# pairs

CE90 (m)

RMSE (m)

LE90 (m)

RMSE (m)

2009 Q2-Q4

530

3.6

2.3

222

3.4

2.2

3.2

2.0

2010

136

3.8

2.4

65

3.5

2.2

3.5

2.3

2011

193

2.8

1.9

43

2.8

1.9

2.9

2.8

Table 2: Geolocation accuracy test results of GeoEye-1

Legend to Table 2:

- RMSE (Root Mean Square Error)

- CE90 (Circular Error of 90%)

- LE90 (Linear Error of 90%)

• GeoEye maintains continuous calibration assessments for the GIS (GeoEye Imaging System) instrument of GeoEye-1 involving the geometric, radiometric and focus parameters to verify the performance quality of the imagery. 13)

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Figure 7: Pearl Harbor Memorial, 70th Anniversary - Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii USA (image credit: GeoEye) 14)

Legend to Figure 7: This half-meter resolution satellite image shows the Pearl Harbor Memorial, located about two miles west of the Honolulu Airport in Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. GeoEye tasked its GeoEye-1 satellite on Dec. 7, 2011 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Attack on Dec. 7, 1941. The image specifically shows the USS Missouri (center), a museum ship docked at Battleship Row, and crowds of people standing in formation on the dock. The USS Arizona Memorial (upper right) was built over the remains of the sunken battleship USS Arizona, which can be seen below the white memorial under the water's surface. The Arizona Memorial is managed by the National Park Service and is now a part of the dedicated WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument Ref. 14).

• In October 2011, an ELR (Enhanced Line Rate) firmware package was uploaded with the objective to increase the overall collection capacity v. the SLR (Standard Line Rate) of the GIS camera. The ELR features are: 15)

- ELR camera slew rate is double that of SLR

- Faster collection of large area targets (25% – 30% increase)

- Point target collection times largely unchanged

- Camera on times decrease up to 40%

- End-to-end capacity increase: 15% – 20%.

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Figure 8: GeoEye-1 image of Rome and Vatican City acquired on April 24, 2011. The image depicts a massive group of the faithful attending Easter services at the Vatican City (image credit: GeoEye)

• The GeoEye-1 spacecraft and its payload are operating “nominally” (with a downlink antenna pointing anomaly) in 2011. GeoEye-1 continues to have excellent radiometric performance.

- The geolocation accuracy performance assessment for GeoEye-1 system during 2010 was better than 4 m for mono CE90 and stereo CE90/LE90 (Circular Error of 90%/Linear Error of 90%). The GeoEye-1 system continues produce very good geolocation accuracy performance. 16)

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Figure 9: GeoEye-1 image of the Nova Friburgo landslides in Brazil (January 2011), image credit: GeoEye

Legend to Figure 9: This half-meter resolution satellite image shows numerous landslides in Nova Friburgo, which is located north of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. According to news reports the slides were triggered by deluges in the mountains just north of Rio and are the deadliest natural disaster to hit Brazil since flooding occurred four decades ago. The image was collected by the GeoEye-1 satellite on January 20, 2011 from 681 km in space as it moved from north to south over Brazil. 17)

• The GeoEye-1 spacecraft and its payload are operating “nominally” (with a downlink antenna pointing anomaly) in 2010.

• In mid-December 2009, GeoEye Inc. reported that the GeoEye-1 satellite has developed a glitch in its antenna-pointing system that could affect the operations of the company’s overseas partners but will not diminish GeoEye’s ability to serve its biggest customer, the U.S. NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency). 18)

The defect reduces GeoEye-1’s ability to take images and simultaneously downlink to ground stations other than the four stations operated by GeoEye itself. For the GeoEye-owned facilities, GeoEye-1’s imaging and downlinking functions are not performed simultaneously. 19)

• In early Dec. 2009, GeoEye announced the start of GeoEye-1 commercial operations for its regional affiliate in Saudi Arabia, KACST (King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology). In addition to directly acquiring GeoEye-1 imagery, KACST will be able to provide other GeoEye-1 imagery and value-added products to its customers. 20)

• However, on May 12, 2009, the GeoEye company disclosed a problem with the GIS camera of GeoEye-1 which leaves small areas of black and white in certain color images collected. The investigation team determined, that the issue is only present in one profile but not in the others. The issue doesn't affect resolution or accuracy. There is little or no impact for GeoEye's Service Level Agreement with NGA. The causes of the problem are still being investigated. 21)

In February 2009, GeoEye announced the start of commercial operations for its GeoEye-1 spacecraft. On Feb. 22, 2009, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) notified the Company that imagery from the GeoEye-1 satellite has been certified as meeting their stringent requirements for quality, accuracy and resolution. As a result of the certification, the GeoEye-1 satellite is fully commissioned. The NextView program is designed to ensure that the NGA has access to commercial imagery in support of its mission to provide timely, relevant and accurate geospatial intelligence in support of national security. 22) 23)

• As of Dec. 2008, GeoEye-1 still experienced geolocation problems that prevented the company of selling its imagery.

• On Nov. 11, 2008 GeoEye Inc. reported that the GeoEye-1 spacecraft will not enter commercial service until December due to software glitches on the ADCS (Attitude Determination and Control Subsystem) that went undetected in ground testing. 24)

• On Oct. 8, 2008 GeoEye Inc. released the first, color half-meter ground resolution image taken from its GeoEye-1 satellite (Figure 13). The spacecraft had been undergoing calibration and check-out since it was launched on Sept. 6 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. 25)

 


 

Sensor complement: (GIS)

The requirements of GeoEye-1 called for panchromatic imagery with a resolution of 0.41 m and multispectral imagery with a resolution of 1.64 m. The imager has been designed and developed by ITT Space Systems Division, formerly Kodak Remote Sensing Systems of Rochester, New York, which built also the sensor for Ikonos-2 (launch April 27, 1999). In January 2007, the GeoEye-1 imager system was delivered to General Dynamics for integration into the spacecraft. 26) 27)

GIS (GeoEye Imaging System):

GIS is a pushbroom imaging system whose basic elements are the optics subsystem (telescope assembly), the focal plane assembly (CCD detector), and the digital electronics subsystem. The optics subsystem employs a TMA (Three Mirror Anastigmatic) telescope design with a primary mirror aperture of 1.1 m in diameter. Three mirrors are used to image and focus the light, and two additional mirrors to direct the image to the FPA (Focal Plane Assembly). The telescope is designed to give a near-perfect (diffraction limited) image to the FPA and to convert the analog pixels into digitized signals.

The FPA consists of an array of CCD detectors with 8 µm pixel size for PAN and 32 µm pixel size for multispectral imagery. ITT has included an outer barrel and door assembly to help protect the telescope and maintain its thermal environment.

Imager type

Pushbroom imager. Lline scan imaging system with TDI (Time Delay Integration) capability

Imaging mode

Panchromatic (Pan)

Multispectral (MS)

Spectral range

450-900 nm

450-510 nm (blue)
520-580 nm (green)
655-690 nm (red)
780-920 nm (near infrared)

Spatial resolution at nadir

0.41 m GSD

1.64 m GSD

Swath width

15.2 km (multiple adjoining paths can be imaged in a target area in a single orbit pass due to S/C agility)

Detectors

Pan: Si CCD array (8 µm pixel size) with a row of > 35,000 detectors
MS: Si CCD 4 arrays (32 µm pixel size) with a row of > 9,300 detectors

Data quantization

11 bit

Geolocation accuracy of imagery

≤ 3 m (using a GPS receiver, a gyroscope and a star tracker) without any GCP (Ground Control Points)

Optics

TMA telescope (5-element modified Cassegrain optical design)
Aperture diameter of 1.1 m, focal length = 13.3 m, f/12

FOV (Field of View)

> 1.28º

Instrument size

3 m tall (the volume is 5.3 m3)

Total instrument mass

452 kg

Table 3: Parameter specification of the GIS instrument

In orbit, the GIS instrument is providing the highest spatial resolution available in 2008 [GSD (Ground Sample Distance) = 41 cm for Pan and 1.64 m for MS]. The operational support modes of the GIS instrument are: 28)

• Simultaneous panchromatic and multispectral (pan-sharpened) 29)

• Panchromatic only

• Multispectral only

The agile spacecraft is capable to provide also stereo observations in any direction (along-track or cross-track with a continuous stereo area up to 6270 km2 daily). The daily monoscopic collection capacity is:

- Up to 700,000 km2 of panchromatic imagery

- Up to 350,000 km2 of pan-sharpened multispectral imagery

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Figure 10: Focal plane electronics of GIS (image credit: ITT)

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Figure 11: Schematic view of the GIS optics assembly (image credit: ITT)

As a major customer, NGA will receive priority tasking and a large discount for agreeing to purchase a large volume of imagery. But there will still be a large amount of capacity dedicated to commercial customers and for the company to build a vast archive of imagery in a relatively short period of time.

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Figure 12: GeoEye-1 collection modes and advanced agility allow for collection of large areas in any orientation and/or multiple point targets (image credit: Eurimage)

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Figure 13: First image captured by GeoEye-1 shows the Kutztown University campus of Kutztown, PA, USA (image credit: GeoEye Inc.)

The color image of Figure 13 was observed on October 7, 2008 from an orbital altitude of 761 km as GeoEye-1 moved down the eastern seaboard of the United States. Although the satellite collects Pan imagery at 0.41m ground resolution, due to U.S. licensing restrictions, commercial customers will only get access to imagery that has been processed to 0.5 m ground resolution.

 


 

Ground system:

MDA (MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates) and Orbit Logic have upgraded elements of GeoEye’s ground segment. The receiving antennae are located at the Company’s headquarters in Dulles, VA and in Barrow, AK. Kongsberg Satellite Services is providing leased ground terminal services in Tromso, Norway and Troll, Antarctica.

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Figure 14: Schematic view of the GeoEye-1 ground system elements (image credit: GeoEye) 30)

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Figure 15: Overview of current and furure GeoEye missions for uninterrupted service and data continuity (image credit: GeoEye) 31) 32)


1) K. P. Corbley, “GeoEye-1 Satellite Coming,” GEOconnexion International Magazine, Sept. 2006, pp. 50-55, http://www.geoconnexion.com/uploads/geoeye_intv5i8.pdf

2) Dennis Jones, “GeoEye Corporate Overview,” JACIE (Joint Agency Commercial Imagery Evaluation) Workshop, Fairfax, VA, USA, March 14-16, 2006, URL: http://calval.cr.usgs.gov/JACIE_files/JACIE06/Files/18Jones.pdf

3) http://www.digitalglobe.com/sites/default/files/DG_GeoEye1_DS.pdf

4) J. Croft, “GeoEye's Next-Generation Imaging Satellite,” GeoInformatics, June 2008, pp. 18-21, URL: http://fluidbook.microdesign.nl/geoinformatics/04-2008/

5) http://launch.geoeye.com/LaunchSite/about/partners.aspx

6) “GeoEye-1 Fact Sheet,” URL: http://launch.geoeye.com/LaunchSite/assets/documents/geoeye1_factsheet.pdf

7) http://www.aerospace-technology.com/projects/geoeye-1-satellite/

8) “GeoEye-1 Satellite Launches Into Space From Vandenberg Air Force Base, California,” GeoEye, Sept. 6, 2008, URL: http://geoeye.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=304

9) “DigitalGlobe and GeoEye Complete Combination,” DigitalGlobe, Jan. 31, 2013, URL: http://media.digitalglobe.com/press-releases/digitalglobe-and-geoeye-complete-combination-nyse-dgi-980726

10) “DigitalGlobe and GeoEye Complete Combination,” Space Daily, Feb. 6, 2013, URL: http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/DigitalGlobe_and_GeoEye_Complete_Combination_999.html

11) David Mulawa, “GeoEye Geolocation Assessment and Reporting Update for 2011,” Proceedings of the 11th Annual JACIE (Joint Agency Commercial Imagery Evaluation ) Workshop, Fairfax, VA, USA, April 17-19, 2012, URL: http://calval.cr.usgs.gov/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/mulawa-GeoEye-geolocation-JACIE-2012.pdf

12) Paul C. Bresnahan, “Geolocation Accuracy Re-Evaluations of GeoEye-1 and QuickBird-2,” Proceedings of the 11th Annual JACIE (Joint Agency Commercial Imagery Evaluation ) Workshop, Fairfax, VA, USA, April 17-19, 2012, URL: http://calval.cr.usgs.gov/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Bresnahan_Paul_JACIE2012_NIQU_CCAP_Geolocation_Accuracy_GE1_QB2_Approved-for-Public-Release-12-182.pdf

13) Nancy E. Podger, “Overview of Image Quality Performance of the GeoEye-1 High Resolution Imaging Satellite,” Proceedings of the 11th Annual JACIE (Joint Agency Commercial Imagery Evaluation ) Workshop, Fairfax, VA, USA, April 17-19, 2012, URL: http://calval.cr.usgs.gov/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Podger_2012_JACIE_GeoEye-1_Image_Quality.pdf

14) “Pearl Harbor Memorial, 70th Anniversary - Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii USA,” GeoEye, URL: http://www.geoeye.com/CorpSite/gallery/gallery-image.aspx?2092&g=18

15) Preston Mattox, “GeoEye-1 New Sensor Mode – 1x2 Multispectral Pixel Aggregation,” Proceedings of the 11th Annual JACIE (Joint Agency Commercial Imagery Evaluation ) Workshop, Fairfax, VA, USA, April 17-19, 2012, URL: http://calval.cr.usgs.gov/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Mattox_JACIE_2012_GeoEye-1_New-Sensor-Mode_1x2_Multispectral_Pixel_Aggregation.pdf

16) David Mulawa, “GeoEye-1 Geolocation Assessment and Reporting Update,” 10th Annual JACIE ( Joint Agency Commercial Imagery Evaluation) Workshop, March 29-31, 2011, Boulder CO, USA, URL: http://calval.cr.usgs.gov/JACIE_files/JACIE11/Presentations/WedPM/210_mulawa_JACIE_11.095.pdf

17) “GeoEye Featured Satellite Images,” URL: http://www.geoeye.com/CorpSite/gallery/detail.aspx?iid=357&gid=1

18) Peter B. de Selding, “Glitch Suspends GeoEye-1 Operations,” Space News Dec. 17, 2009, URL: http://www.spacenews.com/earth_observation/091217-glitch-temporarily-suspends-geoeye-1-operations.html

19) Peter B. de Selding, “GeoEye Revenue Up Despite Satellite Antenna Issue,” Space News, May 17, 2010, p. 10, URL: http://www.spacenews.com/earth_observation/100512-geoeye-sales-rise.html

20) “GeoEye Announces the Start of GeoEye-1 Commercial Operations for its Regional Affiliate in Saudi Arabia,” Dec. 8, 2009, URL: http://geoeye.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=345

21) Turner Brinton, “GeoEye: Camera Glitch on New Satellite Won't Affect NGA Sales,” Space News, May 18, 2009, p. 6

22) “GeoEye-1 Satellite Attains Full Operational Capability Certification,” Space Mart Feb. 23, 2009, URL: http://www.spacemart.com/.../GeoEye_1_Satellite_Attains_Full_Operational_Capability_Certification

23) “GeoEye-1 Satellite Attains Full Operational Capability Certification from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency,” GeoEye, Feb. 20, 2009, URL: http://geoeye.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=317

24) Peter B. de Selding, “Start of GeoEye-1 Service Delayed by Software Glitch,” Space News Nov. 17, 2008, p. 6

25) “GeoEye Releases First Image Collected by Its New GeoEye-1 Earth-Imaging Satellite,” GeoEye, Oct. 8, 2008, URL: http://geoeye.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=308

26) J. Croft, “GeoEye & ITT Team Up for Out-of-this-World Technology,” Imaging Notes Magazine, Spring 2008, Vol. 23, No 1, URL: http://www.imagingnotes.com/go/article_free.php?mp_id=128&cat_id=21

27) “ITT’s Integrated Electro-Optical Payload for GeoEye’s Next-Generation Earth-Imaging Satellite—GeoEye-1,” ITT, URL: http://launch.geoeye.com/LaunchSite/assets/documents/ITT_Fact_Sheet2.pdf

28) GeoEye-1 the world's highest resolution commercial satellite,” Eurimage, URL: http://www.eurimage.com/products/pdf/e-GEOS%20GeoEye.pdf

29) C. S. Fraser , M. Ravanbakhsh, “Georeferencing from GeoEye-1 imagery: early indications of metric performance,” Proceedings of the ISPRS 2009 Workshop, 'High-Resolution Earth Imaging for Geospatial Information,' Hannover, Germany, June 2-5, 2009, URL: http://www.isprs.org/proceedings/XXXVIII-1-4-7_W5/paper/Fraser-207.pdf

30) William Schuster, “GeoEye CorporateOverview - For the JACIE Civil Commercial Imagery Evaluation Workshop,” March 20-22, 2007, Fairfax, VA, USA, URL: http://calval.cr.usgs.gov/JACIE_files/JACIE07/Files/110Schus.pdf

31) Martin H. Taylor, Gene Dial, “GeoEye’s Imagery Collection and Production Services Current Performance and Future Systems,” 10th Annual JACIE ( Joint Agency Commercial Imagery Evaluation) Workshop, March 29-31, 2011, Boulder CO, USA, URL: http://calval.cr.usgs.gov/JACIE_files/JACIE11/Posters/11.140_Taylor_JACIE2011_Poster.pdf

32) Preston Mattox, “Introducing the GeoEye Sensor Performance Lab,” 10th Annual JACIE ( Joint Agency Commercial Imagery Evaluation) Workshop, March 29-31, 2011, Boulder CO, USA, URL: http://calval.cr.usgs.gov/JACIE_files/JACIE11/Presentations/WedPM/145_Mattox_JACIE_11.035.pdf


The information compiled and edited in this article was provided by Herbert J. Kramer from his documentation of: ”Observation of the Earth and Its Environment: Survey of Missions and Sensors” (Springer Verlag) as well as many other sources after the publication of the 4th edition in 2002. - Comments and corrections to this article are always welcome for further updates.