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QuickBird was a high-resolution commercial earth observation satellite launched in 2001 and decommissioned in January 2015. QuickBird satellite offered sub-meter resolution imagery, high geolocational accuracy, and large on-board data storage. Archive data still available.

The QuickBird satellite offered highly accurate, commercial high-resolution imagery of Earth and its global collection of panchromatic and multispectral imagery was designed to support applications ranging from map publishing to land and asset management to insurance risk assessment.

The orbit raise in April of 2011 was designed to extend the mission life of the QuickBird sensor. An operational altitude of 482 km was achieved with an expected gradual descent to 450 km by early 2014. It ended its mission life on 27 January 2015 when it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere. Archive data is still available from this satellite.

quickbird web

+ Specifications

Design and Specifications
Launch Information

Date: October 18, 2001
Launch Vehicle: Delta II
Launch Site: SLC-2W, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

Orbit Altitude: 400km (450km until 2014)
Type: Sun-synchronous, 10:00 am (10:25 am9 descending node
Period: 92.4 minutes (93.6 minutes)
Mission Life

Mission ended on January 27, 2015

Spacecraft Size, Mass and Power

2400 pounds, 3.04-meters (10-ft.) in length

Sensor Resolution and
Spectral Bandwidth
  • Panchromatic:
    • 55 centimeter Ground Sample Distance (GSD) at nadir (61 centimeter)
      Black & White: 405 to 1053 nanometers
  • Multispectral:
    • 2.16 meter GSD at nadir (2.44 meter)
    • Blue: 430-545 nanometers
    • Green: 466-620 nanometers
    • Red: 590-710 nanometers
    • Near-IR: 715-918 nanometers
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Dynamic Range 11-bits per pixel
Swath Width Nominal Swath Width: 14.9 kilometers at nadir (16.8 kilometer)
Area of interest:
  • Single Area: 18.0 km x 18.0 km
  • Strip: 18.0 km x 360 km
Attitude Determination and Control

3-axis stabilized
Star tracker/IRU/reaction wheels, GPS

Pointing Accuracy and Knowledge

Accuracy: < 500 meters at image start and stop
Knowledge: Supports geolocation accuracy below

Retargeting Agility

Time to slew 200 km: 37 seconds (38 seconds)

Onboard Storage

128 gigabits capacity

Communications Payload Data: 320 Mbps X-band
Housekeeping: X-band from 4, 16 and 256 Kbps
2 Kbps S-band uplink
Revisit Frequency

2.5 days at 1 meter GSD or less
5.6 days at 20 degrees off-nadir or less

Metric Accuracy

23 meter circular error, 17 meter linear error (without ground control)


200,000 km² per day

 Archive Imagery Data  Still available post end of mission life.

+ Features


Very high resolution

  • 55 cm (61 cm) panchromatic at nadir
  • 2.16 m (2.44 m9 multispectral at nadir
Acquire high quality satellite imagery for map creation, change detection, and image analysis

High geolocational accuracy

  • Stable platform for precise location measurement

Geolocate features to within 23 m and create maps in remote areas without the use of ground control points

Fast large area collection

  • 14,9 km (16.8 km) width imaging swath

Collect a greater supply of frequently updated global imagery products

High image quality

  • Off-axis unobscured design of QuickBird's telescope
  • Large field-of-view
  • High contrast (MTF)
  • High signal to noise ratio
  • 11-bit dynamic range

Extend the range of suitable imaging collection targets and enhance image interpretability

Large on-board data storage

  • 128 gigabits on-board image storage capacity

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