6 April 1998
Date: Mon, 06 Apr 1998 11:31:42 -0400 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: DN Subject: Spy-quality pictures to be sold online Spy-quality pictures to be sold online CNN Web posted at: 9:37 p.m. EDT (0137 GMT) WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A satellite bringing back the sharpest pictures yet for commercial, non-spy purposes has returned to Earth with images that will be available for downloading from the Internet, a U.S. company said Sunday. The pictures carried back by the Russian satellite will be detailed enough to distinguish objects as small as six feet across, the sharpest shots from space to be sold commercially, Aerial Images Inc. of Raleigh, North Carolina, said. John Hoffman, president of Aerial Images, said the satellite, its speed broken by retrorocket firings, landed on target early Friday, close to its February 17 launch pad at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. "It went off without a hitch," he said of his company's joint mission with SOVINFORMSPUTNIK, a commercial arm of the Russian Space Agency. Hoffman said that when the onboard film was processed and digitized, images would be available for downloading for between $8.95 and $24.95 each, depending on how large an area was covered. High-quality poster-size prints will also be available through Kodak, one of the U.S. companies supporting several key areas of the mission, Hoffman said in a telephone interview. Customers can also request imagery on CD-ROM. With such "two-meter resolution," a viewer would be able to pick out a house within a neighborhood or evaluate potential building sites. Before ordering, shots can be viewed for free on the so-called "TerraServer," www.terraserver.com, a joint project involving Microsoft, Aerial Images, Digital Equipment Co., Kodak and SOVINFORMSPUTNIK. "It's the highest resolution imagery that has ever been commercially made available anywhere in the world," Hoffman said, noting it was good enough to distinguish a truck from a car. The just-completed mission collected images of the southeastern United States from Mississippi east and from the tip of Florida to Washington, D.C. Three more such missions are planned, starting this autumn, to complete coast-to-coast coverage of the United States.