Performance Modeling of Optical Earth Imaging Satellites

In the late 1980’s, while working at Hughes, I assembled a set of notes on satellite remote sensing of the Earth. After retiring in 1997, I found them to be a handy reference, and continued to update them to their present form. The focus is on Earth imaging in the visible and near infrared spectrum using the reflected sunlight. These are the very satellites that dominate commercial imaging today. With the advent of IKONOS II in 1999 and QuickBird 2 in 2002, the public became aware of the capabilities of satellite Earth imaging. The widely used Google maps are today largely based on such imagery. Less well known is that these systems can also produce stereo imagery to produce topographic maps. These notes provide a basis for top-level design and modeling of such systems.