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Earth imaging satellite launched from California

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An artistic conception of the WorldView-2 satellite.

CALIFORNIA (AP/PTI): A high-resolution commercial Earth-imaging satellite was launched into polar orbit.

A Delta 2 rocket carrying DigitalGlobe Inc's WorldView-2 satellite lifted off at 11:51 am local time and arced south over the Pacific Ocean.

The satellite separated from the rocket and entered an orbit 767 kilometres high.

The spacecraft is DigitalGlobe's third remote-sensing satellite. It was designed to provide images with higher levels of feature identification and to more accurately show the world's natural colours.

Company spokeswoman KC Higgins said the launch was a success and WorldView-2's first commercial imagery is expected to be available in 90 days.

WorldView-2 effectively doubles the company's imaging capacity to 500 million square kilometres (193 million square miles) or 500 square kilometres a day, Digital Globe CEO Jill Smith said.

"We can update or refresh our mapping of the globe at least on an annual basis," she said.

The new satellite will have eight spectral bands, allowing it to capture and transmit more accurate and subtle colour than traditional four-band orbiters, she said.

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