Launched in September and now orbiting 423 miles up, GeoEye-1 can snap clear black-and-white photos of objects just 16 inches across and color shots of objects 5.5 feet across, making it twice as sharp as current satellites. Built for GeoEye by General Dynamics, the satellite can capture a 90-billion-pixel picture in two minutes and beam down encrypted images via radio waves more than 40 times a day. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which helped develop GeoEye, will be the satellite’s primary customer. But not the only one: Look for images from GeoEye to show up next year on Google Maps. geoeye.com
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