SEE Related Press Releases
Sept. 4, 1997
ORBIMAGE'S Second Satellite Reaches Operational Orbit
ORBVIEW-2 (SeaStar) Spacecraft
Today, ORBIMAGE successfully activated the SeaWiFS sensor carried by
the Orbview-2 satellite, collected test images over the
Mr. Mark G. Pastrone, ORBIMAGE's Vice President of Marketing, said, "Achieving the final operational orbit for the Orbview-2 satellite is a significant accomplishment of which the entire ORBIMAGE team can be very proud. Now that the spacecraft is accurately positioned and is displaying exceptional performance, we turn our attention to starting the mission's Earth-imaging operations. During September, the onboard SeaWiFS instrument will continue to produce test imagery that will be introduced to commercial markets and the scientific community in early October."
Space Exploration Engineering Inc. developed the RR-MAT (Rapid Response Mission Analysis Tools) software used to plan and execute the orbit-raising operations for the ORBVIEW-2 spacecraft. In addition, SEE personnel used RR-MAT to perform the on-site analysis and planning for the initial phases of the Orbview-2 mission. All 32 orbit-raising maneuvers were planned and overseen by SEE under contract to Orbital Sciences Corporation. Please see the SEE Technical Reports page for more information on the ORBVIEW-2 mission, and the report on ORBVIEW-2 Orbit Raising Operations
Aug. 6, 1998
OrbView-2 Satellite Celebrates First Anniversary in Orbit
Launched on August 1, 1997, OrbView-2 is the world's first commercial satellite to provide high- performance multispectral imagery, such as daily color images of the Earth's oceans and land areas. During its first year of operations, OrbView-2 has provided greater than 98% satellite imaging availability as it completed over 5,000 revolutions of the Earth. The satellite has acquired over 45,000 individual scenes making up more than 300 complete global image sets, enabling ORBIMAGE to establish a strong foothold in markets including precision high- seas fishing, agriculture management, naval operations, environmental monitoring, and various scientific applications.
OrbView-2 has an exceptional ability to acquire color imagery of the Earth with eight multispectral imaging channels. One important product produced from OrbView-2 imagery is fish finding maps, which are sold on a subscription basis to high-seas fishing vessels. These fishing maps use OrbView-2's ability to monitor plankton in the world's oceans to precisely indicate productive fishing areas for such fish as skipjack, yellowfin and albacore tuna.
ORBIMAGE's current customers for OrbView-2 fish finding maps include over
100 high-seas fishing vessels. These vessels are operated by companies located
around the world, including the largest high-seas fishing companies in the
Mr. Gilbert D. Rye, President and Chief Operating Officer of ORBIMAGE, said, "I am particularly proud of our fishing service production team who successfully produced over 2,000 customized fish finding maps during OrbView-2's first year of operations. ORBIMAGE's team of oceanographers has done a great job refining our fishing service through direct feedback from the world's leading fishing captains. As we reflect on OrbView first year, we are pleased that the fishing service is already being widely adopted as a valuable productivity-enhancing asset in the worldwide fishing industry."
Scientific applications are also an important aspect of the value of
OrbView-2 imagery. For example, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA is ORBIMAGE's primary anchor customer
for research uses of OrbView-2 data. Under a five-year $45 million data
purchase agreement with ORBIMAGE, NASA is using OrbView-2's global color
imagery for research activities such as studying the impact of the world's
oceans on the global climate. NASA already has licensed over 300 researchers to
receive and process OrbView-2 data through its SeaWiFS Project Office at Goddard Space Flight Center in
In addition to fishing and scientific applications, OrbView-2 imagery is also beneficial for other operational uses. Examples include OrbView-2's ability to monitor water clarity, which is useful in assisting the U.S. Navy in selected naval operations; its ability to assess global vegetation health, which is valuable for crop yield estimation in several agricultural markets; and its ability to measure ocean-surface plankton, which is critical for monitoring "red tides" and coastal pollution levels.
Space Exploration Engineering Inc. designed and targeted the final operational orbit for the ORBVIEW-2 spacecraft using the RR-MAT (Rapid Response Mission Analysis Tools). SEE continues to monitor the ORBVIEW-2 orbit under contract to ORBIMAGE Inc. Please see the SEE Technical Reports page for the first year of orbit data, along with 5-year orbit prediction information.
Sep. 17, 1998
SEAWIFS Completes A Year of Remarkable Earth Observations.
For the first time in history, NASA is releasing dramatic images documenting the Earth's changing biology, both on land and in the oceans, as observed from space for one continuous year.
The changing seasons of life, the "pulse of the planet," are being monitored by the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS), which was launched on Aug. 1, 1997, and has continuously produced data since Sept. 18, 1997. The SeaWiFS mission is the first NASA Earth Science data purchase in which industry led the development of the full mission.
"Although originally designed to observe the oceans, SeaWiFS provides a
unique capability to study the land and atmospheric processes as well,"
said Dr.Gene Feldman, oceanographer, who heads SeaWiFS' data processing team at
Among the highlights of SeaWiFS' first continuous year of observation were
new insights into the impact of the El Niņo climate anomaly on ocean life.
Further, SeaWiFS was able to monitor a variety of natural disasters, including
SeaWiFS enabled scientists to witness the ocean transition from El Niņo to
La Niņa conditions in the Equatorial Pacific, specifically around the
Phytoplankton are microscopic marine plants that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for internal use. Scientists are eager to understand this exchange of carbon dioxide and the role it plays in the global climate.
"One of the most fascinating events witnessed in the global ocean was
the Spring bloom in the
Unexpected phenomena observed by SeaWiFS, according to McClain, were the
massive blooms of coccolithophores, a unique type of phytoplankton in the
During the summer-fall of 1997 and spring of 1998, expansive blooms of
coccolithophores occurred along the Alaskan shelf. These were the first
observations of blooms of this magnitude in the
NASA is leading an international collaboration using SeaWiFS data. More than
800 scientists representing 35 countries already have registered to use the
data. There are over 50 ground-stations throughout the world which receive data
from the spacecraft. In addition, the unique government-industry partnership
SeaWiFS is an essential component of NASA's Earth Sciences enterprise, an ongoing effort to study the changing global environment. Using the unique perspective available from space, NASA will observe, monitor and assess large-scale environmental processes focusing on climate change.
Remarkable images from this mission are available at the SeaWifs web site.