With the completion of the checking and setup phases, COSMO-SkyMed, the world’s first Earth observation satellite constellation, has entered full operational mode. The first of the four radar satellites that make up the constellation, and will work together with the two French HELIOS 2 optical satellites, has completed the necessary technical checks to establish and optimise its efficiency.
The first very high resolution images that the system can produce, in all weather and light conditions, thanks to SAR technology, were unveiled at the Italian Space Agency’s (ASI) Centro di Geodesia Spaziale (space geodesy centre) at Matera. Its high revisiting frequency, global coverage, and peculiar technical features render COSMO-SkyMed the most advanced system in the world.
COSMO-SkyMed is a programme run by the Italian Space Agency and the Defence Ministry. Its satellites are built by Thales Alenia Space, while Telespazio, a Finmeccanica/Thales company, is responsible for the ground segment and running operations.
COSMO-SkyMed’s images will be acquired by the Matera Space Centre and marketed by e-GEOS, a subsidiary of Telespazio in which ASI owns a stake.
The constellation’s second satellite is due to go into orbit by the end of 2007, and the entire system will be complete by 2009.