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Exelis Delivers First-of-its-kind Commercial Payload To DigitalGlobe For WorldView-3 Satellite

Exelis (NYSE: XLS) has delivered an integrated, super-spectral payload consisting of a telescope, sensor and shortwave infrared system for the WorldView-3 satellite. WorldView-3 is the first multipayload, commercial satellite to carry such capabilities, and will allow DigitalGlobe to further expand its imagery product offerings.

“We met additional requirements and delivered the integrated, multimodality system within a tight timeframe,” said Kyle Schmackpfeffer, Exelis Geospatial Systems director of mapping and resource management and space situational awareness. “Meeting DigitalGlobe’s additional requirement for a shortwave infrared (SWIR) subsystem capability one year into the original contract demonstrates our agility and strong program execution.”

The SWIR bands will penetrate haze, fog, smog, dust, smoke, mist and cirrus clouds and allow clearer identification of materials not visible to the human eye. This is a capability that will be very useful in applications for oil, gas and vegetation and for a number of other uses. For example, the shortwave infrared capability will allow oil and gas companies better mineral characterization to build more accurate geological models for drilling.

“WorldView-3 is a strategic next step in DigitalGlobe’s mission to maximize value across an increasing range of customer applications, and the Exelis systems will play a role in helping us meet these goals,” said Dr. Walter Scott, Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer of DigitalGlobe. “We’re thrilled to continue our working relationship with Exelis in developing WorldView-3.”

DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-3 satellite is scheduled to launch in mid-2014 and will be capable of as good as 0.25 meter resolution. The Exelis telescope and sensors offer new and enhanced applications including mapping; land classifications; disaster preparedness and response; soil and vegetation analysis; geology uses; environmental monitoring; and coastal applications.

Exelis was selected in 2010 to build the imaging system including the panchromatic and visible-near infrared (VNIR) multispectral sensor system and an optical telescope unit. Multispectral shortwave IR was added later to accommodate more robust capability needs and represents the first time SWIR has been available on a commercial satellite.

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