DigitalGlobe (MAXAR), formerly WorldView, Inc, is an American commercial provider of space imagery and geospatial content as well as an operator of civilian remote sensing spacecraft. DigitalGlobe’s satellites image more than three million square kms of the Earth daily in 30 to 50cm resolution, the highest resolution satellite imagery available. The company is operating as a subsidiary of MAXAR Technologies, Ltd, based in Westminster, Colorado, USA.
In 2012 DigitalGlobe acquired Virginia USA-based GeoEye to create the world’s largest commercial-imagery satellite company. In 2006 GeoEye was formed of former Orbimage of Dulles VA and of former Space Imaging of Thornton in Colorado, USA. The newly formed GeoEye company was the world’s largest commercial satellite imagery provider
The company is currently operating five satellites for Earth Observation supporting the civil and defense markets.
On October 5th, 2017 the company was acquired by MacDonald Dettwiler & Associates (MDA) and became MAXAR Technologies, a global leader of advanced space technology solutions. In 2019 MDA was sold to a consortium of financial sponsors led by Northern Private Capital (NPC) for 765 million USD, forming MDA, Inc.
In July 2018 DigitalGlobe (MAXAR) created EARTHWATCH™, a powerful cloud-based commercial product to empower customers to extract value from all the types of geospatial information. EARTHWATCH™ supports Industries like technology, energy, insurance, automotive and telecom, as well as civil governments.
The company was founded as WorldView Imaging, Corp. by Walter Scott and Doug Gerull in 1992 in anticipation of the Land Remote Sensing Policy Act, which permitted private companies to enter the satellite imaging business. The company was initially funded with private financing from Silicon Valley sources and interested corporations in North America, Europe and Japan.
In 1995, the company became EarthWatch, Inc, merging WorldView with Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.’s commercial remote sensing operations and in September 2001 EarthWatch became DigitalGlobe.
December 24th, 1997 the EarlyBird-1 observation satellite was launched for EarthWatch, Inc, from the Svobodny Cosmodrome by a Start-1 launch vehicle, operated by the Russian company United Start Launch (USL). It included a panchromatic camera with a 3m (9.8 ft) resolution and a multispectral camera with a 15m (49 ft) resolution. EarlyBird-1 was the first commercial satellite to be launched from the Svobodny Cosmodrome in Russia. However, contact with the satellite was lost on December 27th of that same year.
The GeoEye’s IKONOS commercial Earth Observation Satellite was the first to collect publicly available high-resolution imagery at 1- and 4-meter resolution. The satellite brought imagery rivaling that of military spy satellites to the commercial market. IKONOS imagery began being sold on 1 January 2000.
Two satellites were originally planned for operation IKONOS-1and IKONOS-2. The first one was launched on 27 April 27th, 1999 from Vandenberg AFB Space Launch Complex 6 in Florida, USA on the Lockheed Martin Athena II rocket. However, the payload fairing did not separate due to an electrical malfunction, resulting in the satellite failing to reach orbit and falling into the atmosphere over the South Pacific Ocean.
IKONOS-2 was built in parallel as an identical twin to IKONOS-1. In reaction to the loss of IKONOS-1, the spacecraft was renamed IKONOS and its processing accelerated. The satellite was successfully launched on September 24th, 1999 on the Lockheed Martin Athena II rocket. The spacecraft was retired and decommissioned in 2015.
On October 18th, 2001 DigitalGlobe’s QuickBird Observation satellite, built by Ball Aerospace, was launched on a Delta II launcher operated by Boeing, thru United Launch Alliance (ULA).
On September 18th, 2007 DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-1 commercial Earth Observation satellite was launched on a Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex-2, by a combined ULA, Boeing Launch Services and Air Force team.
In September 2008 launch operator ULA successfully launched the GeoEye-1 observation satellite from the Vandenberg Airforce Base in Florida, USA. The satellite was equipped with the most advanced and sophisticated technology, capable of offering three-meter accuracy, allowing customers to map natural and man-made features to within three meters of their actual locations on the surface of the Earth without ground control points.
In 2008 DigitalGlobe (MAXAR) signed agreements with customers including Google, Nokia and Microsoft to enable major location-based services and mapping applications to provide high-resolution satellite imagery.
On May 14th, 2009, the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange (NSYE) and raised 279 million USD in capital.
On October 8th, 2009 the WorldView-2 observation satellite, built by Ball Aerospace, was launched on a Delta II rocket, operated by launch operator ULA from the Vandenberg Airforce Base in Florida, USA.
In 2012 DigitalGlobe (MAXAR) acquired Virginia USA-based GeoEye in a 900 million USD transaction to create the world’s largest commercial-imagery satellite company. GeoEye was formed in January 2006, 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 was the world’s largest commercial satellite imagery provider.
In July 2013 the company combined and integrated the GeoEye satellite services and became a global leader in Earth Observation and Geospatial analysis creating a single company with five satellites on orbit and a market capitalization of 2.1 billion USD.
On February 26th, 2014 the company acquired Spatial Energy LLC, a company that provided cloud-based energy data management solutions. Spatial Energy, established in 2005, produced imagery, elevation, geologic and other data sets for companies throughout the USA.
On August 13th, 2014 the WorldView-3 observation satellite, also built by Ball Aerospace was launched on an Atlas V launch vehicle from Space Launch Complex-2, by a combined ULA, Lockheed Martin Launch Services and Air Force team.
On November 11th, 2016 the WorldView-4 observation satellite, designed and built by Lockheed Martin, was launched on ULA’s Atlas V launch vehicle from Space Launch Complex-2, by a combined ULA and Lockheed Martin Launch Services.
In October 2016 the company acquired The Radiant Group, a provider of advanced Geospatial solutions to the U.S. Intelligence Community.
In 2017 DigitalGlobe was acquired by MacDonald Dettwiler & Associates (MDA) and renamed as MAXAR Technologies. MDA acquired satellite manufacturer SSL, creating a company that was comprised of three business units: space systems, imagery and services. The SSL subsidiary, formerly known as Space Systems/Loral, was among the world’s best-known builders of GEO communications satellites.
In July 2018 DigitalGlobe created EARTHWATCH™, a powerful cloud-based commercial product to empower customers to extract value from all the types of geospatial information. EARTHWATCH™ supports Industries like technology, energy, insurance, automotive and telecom, as well as civil governments.
In 2019 the WorldView-4 Observation Satellite was lost due to a malfunctioning of a gyro. The spacecraft was fully covered by insurance. The satellite was ordered by GeoEye prior to its 2013 merger with DigitalGlobe.
|Satellite||Launch Date||Mission||Launcher||Launch Operator|
|EarlyBird-1||Dec 24th, 1997||Start-1||USL Russia|
|IKONOS (IKONOS-2)||Sept 24th, 1999||IKONOS||Athena II||LM USA|
|Quickbird||Oct 18th, 2001||Quickbird||Delta II||ULA, Boeing|
|WorldView-1||Sept 18th, 2007||WorldView-1||Delta II||ULA, Boeing|
|GeoEye-1 (OrbView-5)||Sept 6th, 2008||GeoEye||Delta II||ULA, Boeing|
|WorldView-2||Oct 8th, 2009||WoldView-2||Delta II||ULA USA|
|WorldView-3||Aug 13th, 2014||Atlas V||ULA USA|
|WorldView-4 (GeoEye-2)||Nov 11th, 2016||WoldView-4||Atlas V||ULA USA|
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