Arianespace today signed a launch contract with Thales Alenia Space, joint-venture between Thales and Leonardo, for two COSMO-SkyMed Second-Generation (CSG) satellites manufactured for the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the Italian Ministry of Defense.
The signing ceremony was attended by French President Emmanuel Macron and Paolo Gentiloni, the President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic, at the Prefecture du Rhône, in Lyon, France, on the occasion of the 34th French-Italian summit.
The COSMO-SkyMed Second-Generation satellites are Earth observation spacecraft featuring state-of-the-art technologies and engineering solutions, further bolstering Italian leadership in this sector. They also will foster the expansion of international strategic partnerships, such as those already set up in France and Poland.
The two satellites will be launched as from 2018 by Soyuz and Vega C launchers from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana.
This second-generation system, including its ground segment, will set a new performance standard for space-based radar observation systems in terms of precision, image quality and the flexibility of user services. It is a dual (civil/military) system, designed to address the requirements of both commercial and government customers, as well as the scientific community.
The satellites are equipped with synthetic aperture radar (SAR), capable of observations under any weather or light conditions, day or night.
Built by Thales Alenia Space in Italy using the PRIMA platform, the COSMO-SkyMed Second-Generation satellites will each weigh approximately 2,200 kg. at launch, and will be positioned in Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 619 kilometers.
Following the contract signature, Arianespace Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Israël said: “Arianespace is honored by this expression of confidence from its long-standing partner, Thales Alenia Space, on behalf of the Italian space agency and Ministry of Defense.”
“With this new launch contract, the second of the year awarded by the Italian government, Arianespace proudly continues its contribution to Italy’s space program. The Italian government institutions’ choice of Soyuz and Vega C to launch the second-generation COSMO-SkyMed satellites clearly shows that Arianespace’s current and future launch services perfectly meet the needs of Europe, its Member-States and its space agencies.”