GeoEye-1 is the world’s highest resolution, commercial Earth-imaging satellite at this time.
GeoEye-1 is part of the NGA NextView program. The NextView program is designed to ensure that the NGA has access to commercial imagery in support of its mission to provide timely, relevant and accurate geospatial intelligence in support of national security. GeoEye won its $500-million NextView contract in September 2004 and was able to build and launch GeoEye-1 without any contract cost overruns in less than four years after contract award.
GeoEye-1 will simultaneously collect 0.41-meter ground resolution black-and-white (panchromatic) images and 1.65-meter color (multispectral) images. Designed to take digital images of the Earth from 681 kilometers and moving at a speed of about four-and-a-half miles (seven kilometers) per second, the satellite camera can distinguish objects on the Earth’s surface as small as 0.41-meter or 16 inches in size. Due to U.S. licensing restrictions, commercial customers will get access to imagery at half-meter ground resolution.
GeoEye-1 was built by General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems in Gilbert, Ariz. The imaging system was built by ITT in Rochester, NY. ITT is also building the imaging system for GeoEye-2 slated for launch in 2011. The 4310-pound satellite was launched at 11:50 a.m. PDT on a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The launch of GeoEye-1 marks the 83rd consecutive successful launch of the Delta II rocket.
GeoEye-1 will now undergo a calibration and check-out period before imagery products will be available for sale.
You can find more info about the launch here