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Unter Satellitenfotografie versteht man Bildern von der Erde oder anderen Planeten, die durch Satelliten gesammelt werden.

Satellite imagery is sometimes supplemented with aerial photography, which has higher resolution, but is more expensive per square meter. Satellite imagery can be combined with vector or raster data in a GIS provided that the imagery has been spatially rectified so that it will properly align with other data sets.

All satellite images produced by NASA are published by NASA Earth Observatory and are freely available to the public. Several other countries have satellite imaging programs, and a collaborative European effort launched the ERS and Envisat satellites carrying various sensors. There are also private companies that provide commercial satellite imagery. In the early 21st century satellite imagery became widely available when affordable, easy to use software with access to satellite imagery databases was offered by several companies and organizations.

Satellite imaging companies sell images under licence. Images are licensed to governments and businesses such as Google Maps.


The first images from space were taken on sub-orbital flights. The U.S-launched V-2 flight on October 24, 1946 took one image every 1.5 seconds. With an apogee of 65 miles (105 km), these photos were from five times higher than the previous record, the 13.7 miles (22 km) by the Explorer II balloon mission in 1935.

The first satellite (orbital) photographs of Earth were made on August 14, 1959 by the U.S. Explorer 6. The first satellite photographs of the Moon might have been made on October 6, 1959 by the Soviet satellite Luna 3, on a mission to photograph the far side of the Moon.

The Blue Marble photograph was taken from space in 1972, and has become very popular in the media and among the public.

Also in 1972 the United States started the Landsat program, the largest program for acquisition of imagery of Earth from space.

In 1977, the first real time satellite imagery was acquired by the USA's KH-11 satellite system.

Landsat Data Continuity Mission, the most recent Landsat satellite, was launched on 11 February 2013.


Satellitenbilder werden in vielen Anwendungen genutzt, dazu gehören Meteorologie, Ozeanographie, Fischerei, Landwirtschaft, Erhaltung der Artenvielfalt, Forstwirtschaft, Landschaft, Geologie, Kartographie, Raumplanung, Bildung, Spionage und Kriegsführung.

Die Bilder können in sichtbaren Farben und in anderen Spektren sein. Es gibt auch Höhenkarten, in der Regel durch Radarbilder gemacht. Die Interpretation und Analyse von Satellitenbildern wird mit Hilfe spezieller Fernerkundung durchgeführt.

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