Press Release

WorldView-2 Satellite Features Key Processing Electronics from Southwest Research Institute

By SpaceRef Editor
October 9, 2009
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DigitalGlobe’s recently launched WorldView-2 satellite provides an unprecedented level of detail and geospatial accuracy for imaging and mapping the Earth’s surface. Operating at an altitude of 770 kilometers, WorldView-2 features an advanced onboard imaging system with better than 0.5-meter panoramic resolution and 1.8-meter multispectral resolution and is capable of collecting images of up to 975,000 square kilometers per day.

Built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. using Ball’s BCP-5000 spacecraft bus, the WorldView-2 satellite has an expected mission life of more than seven years. A key component of the WorldView-2 satellite is the Command Interface Formatter Module (CTIF) developed by Southwest Research Institute. On WorldView-2, a redundant pair of CTIF modules provides complete uplink and downlink telemetry processing. The CTIF modules represent a continuation of SwRI’s long track record of providing highly reliable spaceflight electronics supporting the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) command and telemetry protocols.

“The CTIF module is unique in that it provides significant hardware capabilities to offload traditional command and telemetry processing from the main spacecraft computer and to provide those core capabilities even if the main computer should go offline,” says Buddy Walls, manager of Avionics Systems in the SwRI Space Science and Engineering Division. “CCSDS uplink and downlink cards form the core of our avionics systems and are a key component to our record of 53 missions without a single on-orbit failure.”

In addition to offering spacecraft avionics and computers, SwRI has extensive expertise in spacecraft instruments, theoretical and observational studies, space plasma physics, data analysis and science support, planetary exploration and stellar astronomy. Additionally, SwRI currently serves as the principal investigator institution for the NASA Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX), Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) science investigation, and the New Horizons and Juno New Frontiers missions.

As one of the next generation of WorldView-class satellites, WorldView-2 features advanced agility and accuracy, industry-leading collection capacity, and eight-band multispectral imagery, expanding DigitalGlobe’s image collection capabilities to nearly two million square kilometers per day. The company’s sophisticated constellation vastly increases the size and currency of its ImageLibrary and enhances its ability to collect and maintain up-to-date imagery in the areas of greatest interest to its clients.

SwRI is an independent, nonprofit, applied research and development organization based in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 3,300 employees and an annual research volume of more than $563 million. Southwest Research Institute and SwRI are registered marks in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. For more information about Southwest Research Institute, please visit or

SpaceRef staff editor.