COSMO-SkyMed is one of the most innovative Earth Observation programmes, financed by the Italian Space Agency (ASI), the Ministry of Defence, and the Ministry of Education, University, and Scientific Research.

The system is based on a configuration of four satellites equipped with SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) sensors that watch the Earth day and night under any weather conditions.

COSMO-SkyMed was developed for dual use and satisfy both civil and military needs.

The system was set up gradually. From 2007 to 2010, all four first-generation satellites were launched and are still in service.

In December 2020 and February 2022, the constellation was enhanced by the first two second-generation elements (CSG) which, together with two other satellites coming in the next few years, will fully replace the first generation of COSMO-SkyMed.

The Second Generation was designed to guarantee operational continuity of the radar observation services provided by the four first-generation satellites. It will ensure further improved performance in terms of technology, services, and the system's service life.

The two new satellites represent the pinnacle of radar observation from space in terms of precision, characteristics, and image quality.

The CSG will ensure further improved performance in terms of technology, services, and the system's service life. All these characteristics will enable the development of new applications in areas of increasing strategic value.



COSMO-SkyMed is the first dual-use satellite constellation committed to environmental and territory monitoring, security, and emergency management.

The data collected by the COSMO-SkyMed Earth observation radar satellites provides useful information both to support the daily lives of all citizens and to protect and preserve our planet.

Climate Change

COSMO-SkyMed measures the impact of climate change on our planet, such as rising sea levels, melting glaciers and desertification, while also contributing significantly to the study of extreme weather conditions.

Sustainable Resource Management

COSMO-SkyMed improves Man’s management of natural resources and helps fighting deforestation, supports monitoring urbanisation, abusive waste and water management, the main causes of the reduction of land fertility and of the degradation of the connected ecosystem services


The COSMO-SkyMed radar data makes it possible to optimise the classification of soils and the monitoring of farming during the growth cycle, also with a view to optimising crops. In addition to improving yield and quality, water savings of up to 40% can also be achieve.

Cultural Heritage

COSMO-SkyMed  observes monuments, historical buildings, archaeological areas and cultural landscape, in Italy and around the world, studying their changes over time and detecting their every infinitesimal movement. 

Control of critical infrastructure

The extraordinary accuracy of the COSMO-SkyMed images and their high spatial and temporal resolution provide a powerful tool to plan at best the implementation of new settlements or works, to keep under control the movement of the soil, a frequent cause of structural failure and collapse, and to observe strategic infrastructure such as dams, bridges and buildings.

Maritime Safety

COSMO-SkyMed is a fundamental resource for protecting our seas and ensuring their safety by monitoring coastlines and high waters so as to detect vessels engaged in illegal activities, identify dangerous spills, or support search and rescue activities at sea. The satellites are also used to identify optimal routes, thus making navigation more sustainable, economical and safe – also in the Arctic, where it is possible to detect the presence of icebergs.

Emergency Managment

COSMO-SkyMed helps to predict landslides and floods, and to coordinate rescue services in the event of earthquakes or fires, due to its ability to monitor critical areas “from above”. As part of the European Copernicus programme, the COSMO-SkyMed images are of great importance in the European Commission’s Emergency Mapping Rapid Mapping service, which in just a few hours provides satellite maps of areas affected by natural emergencies or humanitarian crises.

Telespazio's role


With its proven experience, Telespazio supports the program in its most crucial phases, from the realization of the entire ground segment to the acquisition and processing of data from the constellation, through its subsidiary e-GEOS.

Telespazio is responsible for designing and developing the ground segment, and for providing Integrated Logistics and Operations services. Telespazio is also responsible for the LEOP (Launch and Early Orbit Phases), IOT (In Orbit Tests) and Operational Approval phases of the satellite. 

The Fucino Space Centre hosts the Constellation Control Centre and engages in command and control activities and plans image acquisition requests.

e-GEOS (a Telespazio / ASI company), markets the COSMO-SkyMed radar data throughout the world. From the Matera Space Centre, e-GEOS acquires, processes, and distributes COSMO-SkyMed satellite data for civil applications.


The role of Industry


COSMO-SkyMed is the result and expression of the best skills of the Italian space industry.

Thales Alenia Space is responsible for the entire CSG programme, including building four satellites. Leonardo contributes to the programme by supplying the Altitude Sensors (A-STR) for orienting the satellite, solar panels (PVA), and sophisticated units that process and distribute electricity throughout the satellite, maximising its energy efficiency.

In December 2020 Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio have signed the contracts with the Italian Ministry of Defence and with the Italian Space Agency (ASI), to launch the development of two additional satellites and the upgrade of ground, logistic support and operational segments to complete the COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation constellation.

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