Space: A Constellation of Commercial Spy Satellites

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May 22, 2007: Fans of Google Earth, and other web based satellite photo sources, just got another supplier. South Korea, will now offer the one meter resolution pictures from its Arirang 2 photo satellite, starting next month. This makes four high resolution photo birds (including Quickbird 2, IKONOS-2 and EROS-A) supplying the growing demand for satellite based images. The more satellites offering such images, the better the overall coverage of the planet. The military and law enforcement also take advantage of these commercial photo satellites, even though they have access to higher resolution military photo satellites. The military birds are usually in big demand, so if you want to look at some lower priority area, you see what the commercial satellites have available. Police, aid groups, and researchers of all kinds, have found the commercial satellite photos essential. Terrorist groups find these services useful as well, but this has not been a serious enough problem to try and restrict access to satellite images.

 


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