WorldView-4 suffers catastrophic failure

By on 8 January, 2019

Artist’s rendition of WorldView 4. Image provided by DigitalGlobe.

Maxar Technologies’ WorldView-4 satellite has experienced a failure of its control moment gyroscope system, preventing the satellite from maintaining accurate axis stability.

The malfunction prevents the spacecraft from collecting imagery, and at the present time, Maxar believes that WorldView-4 will not be recoverable.

The flagship satellite for imagery acquisition in DigitalGlobe’s constellation, WorldView-4 was launched in November 2016. The craft was built by Lockheed-Martin, with the control moment gyroscopes (CMGs) provided by Honeywell.

WorldView-4 joined WorldViews 1, 2 and 3, along with GeoEye-2 and Quickbird-1 in the DigitalGlobe constellation, offering an additional 680,000 square kilometres of 30-centimetre resolution imagery daily.

According to a statement, Maxar is currently looking to provide as much coverage as possible with the remainder of its constellation and the use of outside resources. The satellite generated revenues of around $US85 million in the 2018 fiscal year, and Maxar believes it can offset $US10-15 million of WorldView-4’s annual revenue.

WorldView-4 was insured for $US183 million, and the company has indicated that it intends to seek full recovery for the loss of WorldView-4 under its insurance policies.

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