By ROB WAUGH
Space Shuttle Endeavour on Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida, awaiting launch to the International Space Station - its last flight
The GeoEye-1 satellite is capable of capturing details as small as a dustbin as it hurtles past our planet at 17,000mph - and its creators have hand-picked views that show off the majesty of our planet. GeoEye provides exclusive imagery to the Google Earth and Google Maps applications. It captures around 270,000 square miles of Earth's surface ever day - an amount of geographical data equivalent to the size of the State of Texas. The four pictures were released to celebrate Earth Day, and show endangered habitats around the world.
As of last year, GeoEye had gathered together more than 98,000,000 square miles of photographs and their newest satellite GeoEye 1 is capable of capturing something the size of a beer barrel from 425 miles up.
This image shows ice fields near Adelaide Island (on the west) which is a large, mainly ice-covered island, 75 miles long and 20 miles wide, lying at the north side of Marguerite Bay off the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula
Towra Point Nature Reserve located on the southern shores of Botany Bay at Kurnell, within the Sutherland Shire, in southern Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Towra Point consists of 603.3 hectares (1,491 acres) and is situated on an ancient river delta deposit
Markings on the ground in Xinjiang China. Such satellite images are often the subject of conspiracy theories - but are usually used to calibrate satellite imagers
The Pausylipon Archeological Site and the Seiano Grotto, located approximately 8.1 miles west of Naples, Italy. These archaeological ruins include a remarkable amphitheater with a seating capacity of two thousand
She said: 'It has a sun-synchronous orbit, which means that it can pass over the same location every day at approximately 10.30am.
'It is capable of collecting up to 700,000 square kilometres of material every day and that is basically data equivalent to the size of Texas.'
Launched in a Delta 2 Rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in 2008, GeoEye 1 was the latest addition to their ever-growing dominance of the commercial satellite sector.
'The whole project in total cost £314 million to put the 4,300 pound satellite into orbit in conjunction with Boeing who built the Delta rocket and General Dynamics who built GeoEye1,' she said.
Italy's Naples, as captured by the imager, which can pick out objects just 50cm across
Japan's Sendai as captured by GeoEye's high-resolution imager
Vatican City as seen by GeoEye