Over the last two years, DigitalGlobe set out to expand the company’s ability to download imagery quicker and cover more of the earth’s surface within a shorter window of time. The result is a much shorter period of time between data collection to product delivery. I sat down with Jeff Culwell, DigitalGlobe's director of Satellite Control Systems, at his office in Longmont, Colorado, for a better understanding of how the improvements were accomplished.
DigitalGlobe’s Remote Ground Terminal (RGT) expansion project began in 2010. (See figure at right: Norwegian Polar Institute – Antarctic Research Station & Kongsberg Satellite Services TrollSat Ground Station)
The first phase of the operation added four new ground terminals in Asia that allowed DigitalGlobe to capture 50% new capacity and improve latency by 34%. The last terminal in this phase was added in late 2011.
The second phase adds three terminals in North America. In all, the new RGT’s cover about 45% of earth’s land mass and 90% of earth’s surface within 20 minutes. Phase two has been completed in August 2012. (Figure below: Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT) – TrollSat Ground station antenna Looking North)
Images courtesy of DigitalGlobe