First Commercial High-Res
Imaging Satellite Strangely
Lost After Launch
Note - This was to be the first privately owned and operated satellite capable of taking pictures with resolution down to about the size of a car. Since the project was announced four years ago, many have suggested the goverment and military weren't about to allow the public and private sector to have the technology to peer down from above and photograph anything, and anywhere, on the globe...for rather obvious reasons.
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.-(BUSINESS WIRE) -Space Imaging and Lockheed Martin Astronautics have not successfully acquired telemetry signals from the IKONOS 1 satellite following its launch this morning by a Lockheed Martin Athena II rocket. The Athena was launched at 11:22 a.m. PDT from Space Launch Complex 6 (SLC-6) at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Weather conditions for the launch were good and the countdown was normal.
``We are gravely disappointed that we have not established contact with the IKONOS satellite as of this time,'' said John Copple, Space Imaging's chief executive officer. ``We are working through the anomaly with Lockheed Martin. Space Imaging had established contingency plans in case something like this happened,'' he said. ``Although our business plan will be delayed, we are confident that with the launch of IKONOS 2 we will achieve our goals.''
Space Imaging and its prime contractor, Lockheed Martin Corporation, have begun an investigation into the anomaly and will determine as quickly as possible the appropriate corrective actions. IKONOS 2, an identical twin to IKONOS 1, has already been built as a backup in case of an anomaly such as this. No launch date has been set.
Lockheed Martin Astronautics built the Athena II launch vehicle. Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space built the satellite for Denver-based Space Imaging.