Satellite images so sharp that a baseball home plate is recognizable from more than 400 miles hang in the federal budget balance — and with them the fortunes of two companies with Colorado operations.
High-resolution Earth images snapped by a squadron of high-flying commercial satellites find uses in oil and gas exploration, mining, agriculture, environmental monitoring, disaster response, national security and defense.
But the images and accompanying maps, analyses and other products are particularly critical to the military and intelligence communities.
Proposed steep cuts in the U.S. Department of Defense budget could affect satellite-imagery providers DigitalGlobe, headquartered in Longmont, and GeoEye, based in Virginia with a processing and operations center in Thornton. Combined, the companies have about 1,200 employees…