The vantage point we gain from the evolution of space-based technology has prompted a fundamental shift in how we understand and navigate the world we live in — and worlds beyond. Our rapidly transforming ability to image Earth from space in rich detail and novel ways, along with the development of ever more powerful satellites that are cheaper to launch, are prerequisites to breakthroughs here on Earth.
For decades, leaders in government, business, global health, and other arenas have relied on Maxar Technologies for satellite imagery and derived intelligence to understand and navigate complex questions. As a pioneer of the commercial Earth observation industry and a leader in Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure, Maxar has a 60-year legacy, including a decades long relationship with NASA, dating back to the Apollo era. Today, there are more than 80 Maxar-built satellites on orbit, more than any other company. Maxar’s focus on integrated capabilities is driving unrivaled innovation in Space Infrastructure.
Maxar’s expertise starts on the clean room floor in its factories, where Maxar has built spacecraft and robotics for more than 60 years. The missions of the Maxar-built spacecraft currently on orbit range from communications for companies such as SiriusXM and DIRECTV, to Earth observation satellites for gathering information about environmental and human activity around the globe.
The newest addition to Maxar’s imaging satellite constellation is WorldView Legion, a fleet of next-generation imaging satellites that will be owned and operated in-house to support customer missions. Set to launch later this year, WorldView Legion will offer unprecedented and more reliable visibility into the changes that are shaping our planet.
The initial block of six WorldView Legion satellites will image the Earth’s most active areas more frequently and with greater clarity and accuracy than ever before. Combining WorldView Legion with Maxar’s four existing satellites will give customers the ability to see some areas up to 15 times a day. Each WorldView Legion satellite will collect imagery covering approximately 700,000 square kilometers — about the size of Texas — every day. The increased volume of rich data over critical areas around the world will provide decision-makers with more accurate, comprehensive, and timely analysis of conditions on the ground.
The images captured by the WorldView Legion satellites will show an object’s true location on the ground within 5 meters, compared with the 25 or 100 meters other satellite image sources can guarantee. This positional accuracy is essential for applications such as self-driving vehicles, for which accuracy is necessary to localize the position of a car within a lane of a road.
The image resolution possible with WorldView Legionwill show an industry-leading level of detail. At 29-centimeter resolution, the highest resolution commercially available, users looking at an image of a parking lot will be able to distinguish among a sedan, an SUV, a motorcycle, and a truck.
WorldView Legion will provide coverage from sunup to sundown and reduce the windows between collects, allowing for more persistent monitoring. This coverage enhances support for emergency response, maritime surveillance, mission planning, infrastructure, and other remote monitoring needs over critical areas. The right balance of currency (how recently the image was taken), resolution (the level of detail the image holds), and coverage (the amount of area the satellite collects), enables organizations to make critical, time-sensitive decisions that are based on factual intelligence.
Improvements in size, weight, and power give WorldView Legion maximum cost-efficiency when compared with other satellites currently in use. WorldView Legion is cheaper to build and more powerful, leading to better data and a higher ROI for those using the data. The initial capital outlay is also lower. The first six WorldView Legion satellites cost $600 million in total, compared with the $800 million price tag to build and launch Maxar’s most recent single satellite. Maxar’s innovations in spacecraft design and manufacturing are opening vistas to use space for a better understanding of our world.
Today, the Maxar constellation collects more than 3 million square kilometers of new high-resolution imagery every single day, adding to the depth and breadth of Maxar’s 125+ petabyte global imagery archive that captures more than two decades of change. When WorldView Legion begins operations, the amount of daily imagery collected will increase to 5 million square kilometers a day.
The key to unlocking the value of all this data is the expertise and capability of Maxar’s artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled analytics. Maxar’s machine learning (ML) algorithms, which are developed on a breadth of Maxar-generated and open source data, are able to automate object and change detection. Combining AI/ML with high-resolution satellite imagery, Maxar is creating change detection, feature extraction, and 3D and elevation models. These derived datasets offer the accuracy and scalability required for building out 5G networks, autonomous vehicle programs, disaster planning, mission training, situational awareness, and much more.
Near real-time analysis is critical for making informed decisions — and especially critical when addressing urgent national security or humanitarian crises. Combining the most advanced geospatial analytics and expertise available with this new continuous feed of current imagery will equip customers with unrivaled insights and answers for a competitive edge. By leveraging WorldView Legion and the rest of its existing constellation and capabilities, Maxar enhances customers’ abilities to evaluate, prioritize, and respond faster than ever.
WorldView Legion will shape the next evolution of gathering reliable intelligence about Earth using innovative infrastructure in space to provide clearer vision, better understanding and the capacity to act with more complete information about our rapidly changing planet.
Maxar is a trusted partner and innovator in Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure, helping governments and businesses navigate our changing planet and unlock the potential of space. Maxar’s soon-to-launch WorldView Legion satellites are made to image Earth’s most active areas more frequently, and at a higher resolution, to give customers the timely information they need to address their biggest challenges.
Learn more about how Maxar and WorldView Legion are furthering humanity’s pursuit of greater understanding.