Orbital Imaging Corporation
(ORBIMAGE), an affiliate of Orbital Sciences Corporation and a
leading global provider of satellite-delivered Earth imagery products and
services, today announced that its OrbView-1 atmospheric imaging satellite has
successfully completed its fifth year in space.
Launched on 3 April 1995,
OrbView-1 provides the world’s first broad-area cloud-to-cloud lightning data.
Originally planned as a low cost, six-month experiment, OrbView-1 has provided
NASA with information in support of its atmospheric research program for over
five years.
To date, OrbView-1 has completed over 26,000 orbits of the Earth,
traveling over 700 million miles.

OrbView-1’s payload consists of two sensors: an Optical Transient Detector
(OTD) provided by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, and an atmospheric
monitoring instrument (GPS/MET) sponsored by the National Science Foundation
and the University Consortium for Atmospheric Research.
The OTD sensor maps
atmospheric lighting strikes and has provided NASA with information important
to the understanding of severe weather patterns.
The GPS/MET sensor has
proven that the signals from the GPS satellite constellation used for
precision navigation can also be used to provide important atmospheric data.
The success of the GPS/MET sensor has further validated the concept of using
space-based sensors to improve worldwide weather prediction.

The OrbView-1 program is the result of a unique government-industry
partnership between ORBIMAGE and NASA.
Under this arrangement, NASA provided
the OTD sensor for use on OrbView-1 and ORBIMAGE agreed to conduct an initial
six-month experiment of the sensor.
NASA’s cost for data under this program
over the past five years has totaled approximately $7.2 million.

Mr. Gilbert D. Rye, President and CEO of ORBIMAGE, said, “Both NASA and
ORBIMAGE have benefited from our collaboration on OrbView-1.
OrbView-1’s low-
cost system architecture provides customers, including NASA, with near real-
time data access.
OrbView-1 has also helped us to establish the operational
side of our business, from our satellite operations center to our production
and image processing facilities, prior to the launch of our high-resolution
imagery satellites.”

ORBIMAGE has successfully applied this same government-industry approach
to its OrbView-2 satellite, which provides ocean color data to the NASA
SeaWiFS Project and other commercial customers.
Under a five-year contract,
the cost to NASA for OrbView-2 data is significantly less than it would have
spent on a government-owned satellite.

Today, ORBIMAGE and its prime satellite contractor, Orbital Sciences
Corporation, are building upon this experience in developing ORBIMAGE’s
OrbView-3 and OrbView-4 high-resolution satellites.
The companies have also
entered into a unique arrangement with the U.S. Air Force for the
incorporation of a hyperspectral sensor on OrbView-4 to support the Air
Force’s Warfighter-1 Program.
OrbView-4 will also provide the world’s first
commercially available hyperspectral imagery.


ORBIMAGE is a leading global provider of satellite-delivered Earth imagery
services, with a planned constellation of five digital remote sensing
The company currently operates the OrbView-1 atmospheric imaging
satellite (launched in 1995), the OrbView-2 ocean and land multispectral
imaging satellite (launched in 1997), and a worldwide integrated image
receiving, processing and distribution network.
Currently under development,
ORBIMAGE’s OrbView-3 and OrbView-4 high-resolution satellites will offer one-
meter panchromatic and four-meter multispectral digital imagery.
will also offer the world’s first commercial hyperspectral satellite imagery.
ORBIMAGE is also the exclusive, worldwide distributor of imagery from the
planned Canadian RADARSAT-2 satellite.
ORBIMAGE currently offers one-meter
high-resolution panchromatic imagery of major U.S. and non-U.S. urban areas
through its OrbView Cities catalog, available at www.orbimage.com.
addition, ORBIMAGE distributes imagery from SPOT Image, RADARSAT-1 and
Russia’s SPIN-2 satellite.

  • Note:
  • To learn more about these companies, visit:

  • Marshall Space Flight Center’s

Optical Transient Detector

NASA SeaWiFS Project

Orbital Sciences Corporation