GeoEye's next satellite, GeoEye-2, is in a phased development process for an advanced, third-generation satellite capable of discerning objects on the Earth's surface as small as 0.25-meter (9.75 inch) in size. The company expects to contract with a satellite builder in 2008 and launch the satellite approximately three years after work begins under that contract.
GeoEye-2 will be of the same general class as GeoEye-1 launched on September 6th, 2008 (Article: GeoEye-1 Satellite Sensor Launch) and became commercially available on February 5th, 2009. The GeoEye-2 Satellite sensor will benefit from significant improvements in capability, including enhanced direct tasking, and the potential to collect imagery of the Earth’s surface at 0.25-meter or 9.75-inch ground resolution. While GeoEye has an operating license from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to build and launch a satellite constellation with this extremely high ground resolution, the final decision regarding GeoEye-2’s resolution will be made in response to how best to serve customer requirements, as well as consideration of the current regulatory environment. Under current licensing constraints, only U.S. Government customers and specifically designated allies have access to imagery at this highest resolution while commercial customers receive imagery at the highest resolution allowed by U.S. regulations, currently 0.5-meter or 19.5 inch ground resolution.