Editor’s note: This is the first blog in the series, “The People of WorldView Legion,” which introduces Maxar team members who are working on the WorldView Legion program and shares their insights on what WorldView Legion means for our customers.

For a decade, Dr. Amy Newbury has been designing cameras—the big space cameras that orbit the globe on Maxar satellites. As the Chief Instrument Engineer for WorldView Legion, she ensures our next-generation imaging satellites will capture imagery at the quality our customers need.

1. Maxar: What’s your role in taking WorldView Legion from an idea to a reality?

Amy Newbury: I procure the payload—the camera part of the WorldView Legion satellites. I figure out what we want WorldView Legion to do in terms of image quality, performance and function. I also figure out what vendors can build and who we want to build it. Our partners at Raytheon are building the cameras for the WorldView Legion satellites.

We start by creating designs based on the cutting-edge technology we know exists. Working with the vendor, we decide what’s going to be built to meet requirements for our mission. Then we oversee the design, build and test of the payload. We do that in the factory at Raytheon, when it’s integrated with the bus at Maxar and, ultimately, in space.

We know how the camera was behaving prior to delivery, but then we make sure the performance is the same once it’s part of the spacecraft. And I do the same thing once it’s launched.

2. You have experience working on the payload for the WorldView spacecraft. How is working on WorldView Legion different?

We are much more integrated with the teams that are building the bus. We interface more across Maxar to make sure the satellite we’re building will give us the information we need to serve our customers and extract meaningful information from the imagery. This collaboration ensures we’re developing something that will produce the imagery at the high-quality customers need, make the processing as easy as possible, and make developing derived products as seamless as it can be.

3. How did you define the requirements for the WorldView Legion cameras?

Our challenge was to figure out what the payload had to do to get a quality image that contained as much information as possible. We also had to ensure continuity with the quality of WorldView Legion data and the imagery from our existing satellites.

We reached out to all facets of Maxar and looked at market demand to figure out what we needed. With that information, we ran simulations and trade studies and simulated WorldView Legion data to make decisions based. It was a combination of surveying, simulation and making judgment calls.

4. What makes the WorldView Legion build different from other satellites built for Earth observation?

For Maxar, it’s not just about building the bus, putting the payload together and launching it. We’re looking at all images that come down from the sky to make our products. Our teams are aligned to do that.

And Maxar is innovative. We are willing to use newer technology than what others might use, but we put the rigor into testing on the ground to ensure performance. This new tech is a big leap forward, and it enables us to make less expensive, smaller systems compared to the legacy WorldView satellites, for example, but with comparable image quality.

5. What excites you about WorldView Legion and what it promises for our customers?

We are going to be able to revisit some areas 15 times a day—that’s amazing! Keeping watch over the globe multiple times a day means we’re moving away from mapping the world as a static place to seeing it as something more dynamic. That is really exciting for us and for our customers.

Learn more about WorldView Legion

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