Spaceflight Insider

WorldView-2 satellite involved in ‘Debris causing event’


An artist’s rendering of DigitalGlobe’s WorldView satellites. WorldView-2 was involved in a “debris causing event” but is still functioning. Image Credit: DigitalGlobe

A commercial Earth observation satellite was involved in a “debris causing event” yesterday, according to the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC), the part of the United States Defense Department that tracks space objects. The satellite in question, WorldView-2, is owned and operated by DigitalGlobe.

JSpOC announced the event in a tweet and added the satellite has been confirmed as operational and maneuverable. However, eight pieces of debris were tracked. It is unclear exactly when the event occurred or how many of the pieces, if any, are part of WorldView-2.

“Earlier today JSpOC issued a ‘debris causing event’ notification related to DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-2 satellite,” DigitalGlobe tweeted. “WorldView-2 is currently operational and is performing standard maneuvering and imaging tasks.”

Likely in an effort to show that their satellite was still functioning, the company released via twitter an image of downtown Oakland, California. The company noted the image was collected at 2:34 p.m. PDT (21:34 GMT) July 19.

According to SpaceNews, Air Force Capt. Nicholas Mercurio, a spokesperson for the U.S. Strategic Command’s Joint Functional Component Command for Space and the 14th Air Force, said DigitalGlobe has started an investigation into what happened.

WorldView-2 offers commercial panchromatic imagery with a resolution of less than a half-a-meter per pixel. The satellite was built by Ball Aerospace and launched on Oct. 8, 2009, atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Space Launch Complex 2W.

The satellite is joined by WorldView-1, which launched in 2007; GeoEye-1, which was placed into orbit in 2008; and WorldView-3, which took to the skies in 2014. WorldView-2 takes a new picture of any place on Earth every 1.1 days.


Derek Richardson has a degree in mass media, with an emphasis in contemporary journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also has a website about human spaceflight called Orbital Velocity. You can find him on twitter @TheSpaceWriter.

Reader Comments

Very Good , BUT!!! , What Hit The Good Unit?????

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