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Earlybird 1

Earlybird 1 [OSC]

EarlyBird 1, a remote sensing satellite built by CTA Space Systems (now part of Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC)) for EarthWatch, Inc., was to provide high resolution commercial imagery. EarthWatch planed to offer black-and-white images with a resolution as high as 3 meters per pixel, and color images with a resolution of 15 meters per pixel. The imaging sensor was derived from NASA's cancelled Clark satellite.

A russian Start-1 rocket, a version of the SS-25 ICBM, carried the satellite into orbit from the Svobodny cosmodrome in eastern Russia. While the launch went well, placing the satellite into a nearly circular orbit, contact was lost with the satellite four days after launch.

EarthWatch has announced that contact was lost with the satellite on 28 December 1997.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Earth observing
Operator: Earthwatch Inc.
Contractors: CTA → Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC)
Equipment: 3-meter panchromatic camera, 15-meter multispectral camera
Configuration:
Propulsion: ?
Power: Deployable fixed solar array, batteries
Lifetime: 3 years (design); 5 years (fuel)
Mass: 317 kg
Orbit: 480 km × 488 km, 97.30
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Earlybird 1 1997-085A 24.12.1997 Sv LC-5 Start-1
Earlybird 2 - cancelled