WASHINGTON (AFP) — A Google-sponsored satellite has beamed its first picture back to Earth in a successful test of a camera that will supply images for the Internet giant’s free online map and navigation services.
The high-resolution color image from GeoEye-1, which was launched September 6 from a US air force base in California, was of a university campus in Pennsylvania, satellite operator GeoEye Inc. said in a statement.
The Dulles, Virginia-based company provided a link to the image at its website: http://www.geoeye.com/CorpSite/gallery/Default.aspx
“We expect the quality of the imagery to be even better as we continue the calibration activity,” said Brad Peterson, GeoEye‘s vice president of operations.
GeoEye-1‘s main client is the US government’s mapping arm, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, but Google is a major sponsor of the 500-million-dollar satellite and has exclusive commercial rights to its images.
“We are pleased to release the first GeoEye-1 image, bringing us even closer to the start of the satellite’s commercial operations and sales to our customers,” said GeoEye chief executive Matthew O’Connell.
Because of national security concerns, GeoEye-1‘s government clients will receive higher resolution photos than commercial clients such as Google, which plans to use the images on its popular Google Maps and Google Earth programs.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin is a space buff and has booked a seat on a flight to the International Space Station with the company Space Adventures, which plans to take space tourists to the orbiting space station beginning in 2011.
Original from Google-sponsored satellite sends first image
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