Spaceflight Now: Breaking News

Top 10 images released from commercial eye-in-the-sky
Posted: September 25, 2000

An artist's concept of the Ikonos satellite in Earth orbit. Open the Top 10 Photo Gallery. Photo: Space Imaging
Space Imaging, the world's only company to offer commercially available one-meter resolution satellite imagery, is celebrating the one-year anniversary in space of it Ikonos satellite. The craft was launched Sept. 24, 1999 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Since Jan. 1, 2000, when Ikonos imagery was first made available for sale to customers, the Ikonos satellite has logged many milestones. It has:

  • Collected 24 million square kilometers of imagery.
  • Created 200,000 images, which are housed in Space Imaging's digital archive.
  • Flown 232 million kilometers around the Earth.
  • Collected images over every continent on the Earth's surface.

In celebration of this anniversary, Space Imaging is showcasing 10 of the year's most visually striking Ikonos photographs on the company's Web site. These images show the Great Pyramids of Egypt; California's Hollywood sign; the Olympic Park venue in Sydney, Australia; Hoover Dam; London's Millennium Wheel; San Francisco Harbor; Hong Kong Harbor; Mecca, Saudi Arabia; and a before and after of the bombing of Grozny, Chechnya.


Ikonos imagery has affected the lives and livelihoods of people, businesses and governments around the world. Space Imaging recently worked with Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, N.M., following the destructive wildfires that blazed through this city early last summer. Los Alamos bought high-resolution Ikonos satellite imagery to survey vegetation and structural damage caused by the Cerro Grande fire and to help plan erosion mitigation for any possible flooding caused by the loss of vegetation cover.

Ikonos imagery has benefited other groups:

  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association is using Ikonos imagery to study the health of coral reef on the Pacific Rim.
  • In the California wine country, Ikonos imagery is being used to study the effects of Pierce's Disease on thousands of square miles of crops.
  • Software companies are using Ikonos imagery to allow real estate buyers to explore properties over the Internet.
  • The State of Chihuahua in Mexico is using Ikonos to update its land registry, helping the State to monitor population growth and maximize limited physical space.
  • A wireless telecommunications firm is using Ikonos imagery to create 3D virtual cities to map and display terrain, buildings and trees, aiding in the accurate placement of antennas.

"Ikonos was built to provide new information capabilities for business and government to use for decision making," said John Copple, CEO of Space Imaging. "The information capabilities of the Ikonos system surpassed both the industry's and our own expectations."

Copple continued, "I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of our employees and our suppliers to make this technology available to the commercial marketplace. What Ikonos has produced in the past year is just the beginning of what's to come as we move forward into the visual information age."