Second Generation COSMO-SkyMed Satellite Successfully Launched

01 February 2022

At 0.26 UTC 1 February, Telespazio's Fucino Space Centre took control of the second COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation satellite, launched at 23.11 UTC with a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral (USA).

Fucino Space Centre hosts the Control Centre for the first and second generations of COSMO-SkyMed, Italy's SAR Earth observation constellation.

Over the next few days, the Control Centre will manage LEOP (Launch and Early Orbit Phase) operations, one of the most critical phases of a space mission, which includes all activities from the moment the satellite is separated from the rocket until it is placed in its final orbit.

The second COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation satellite will progressively replace the first-generation system, increasing system performance, and significantly extending the range of applications offered, in view of the final configuration of four satellites. The entire system, including the ground segment developed by Telespazio, will set the performance standard for all radar observation systems from space, in terms of accuracy, image quality and flexible user services.

The second-generation COSMO-SkyMed (COSMO-SkyMed - COnstellation of Satellites for the Mediterranean basin Observation) is a constellation financed by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) with funds allocated by the Italian Ministry of University and Research alongside the Italian Ministry of Defence. It will guarantee the operational continuity of SAR (Synthetic-Aperture Radar) Earth observation services currently provided by the four first-generation COSMO-SkyMed (CSK) satellites launched into orbit between 2007 and 2010 and still operational.

For COSMO-SkyMed, Italian industry plays a leading role, with Leonardo and its joint ventures Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio, together with a significant number of small and medium-sized enterprises Thales Alenia Space is in charge of the entire Second-Generation COSMO-SkyMed programme, including satellite design and development, as well as the design, integration and commissioning of the end-to-end system.

Telespazio is responsible for the design and development of the CSG ground segment and the provision of Integrated Logistics and Operations Services (ILS and OPS).

In addition to operations and the ground segment, Telespazio Group also plays a leading role in the provision of geoinformation services based on COSMO-SkyMed data. e-GEOS, a joint venture between Telespazio (80%) and ASI (20%), develops geoinformation applications and provides operational services based on COSMO-SkyMed both generations data and markets worldwide its data.

“We are proud to be among the creators of the development and affirmation of the most advanced satellite radar constellation in the world COSMO-SkyMed, with its highly innovative operating capabilities, has been contributing since 2007 to the continuous monitoring of the Earth’s surface, responding to the needs related to security and management of natural events providing a contribution of primary importance to its users, both civil and defense". 

Luigi Pasquali, CEO of Telespazio

Over the years, the data obtained by the COSMO-SkyMed system have provided fundamental information in monitoring the environment and the territory, in safety or in the management of emergencies.

As a mission participating in the European Copernicus program, for example, COSMO-SkyMed was used by the Emergency Mapping-Rapid Mapping service of the European Commission, led by an international consortium led by e-GEOS (Telespazio 80% / ASI 20%), to monitor the recent volcanic eruption on the island of La Palma, in the Canary archipelago, contributing with data and maps to control the movements of the lava.

The work carried out on the island has shown one of the most innovative features of the second generation COSMO-SkyMed satellites, the ability to acquire data with two - in some ways, four - different polarizations, with important benefits in terms of rapid response and efficiency in the use of the satellite resource, since in the past the same result was obtained with multiple passes of the satellite.

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