Italy’s OPTSAT 3000 military satellite launched

Italian Ministry of Defense’s OPTSAT 3000 earth observation satellite has been launched abroad Arianespace’s Vega carrier rocket at 01:58 UTC on Tuesday evening from Europe’s Guiana Space Centre (Centre Spatial Guyanais, CSG) Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Along with OPTSAT 3000, VENµs earth observation satellite developed by Israeli Ministry of Science & Technology  for the Israeli Space Agency (ISA) and France’s CNES space agency also hitched a ride on board Vega.

This was the seventh Earth observation mission for the lightweight rocket and the launch took place from the Guiana Space Centre’s ELA-1 launch pad.

OPTSAT-3000 was the first passenger to be deployed by Vega. Dropped off in a Sun-synchronous orbit, OPTSAT-3000 was built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) based on inter-governmental Italian-Israeli agreements. It will enable national defense entities to acquire and use high-resolution images from any part of the globe.

The OPTSAT-3000 system was supplied by Telespazio as prime contractor, which has responsibility for the entire system: from the satellite to the ground segment, launch and early operation services, the preparation and execution of operations and logistics, through to in-orbit tests and commissioning. OHB Italia is responsible for the launch services and related engineering support.

With a design life exceeding seven years, OPTSAT-3000 has a liftoff mass of 368 kg.

Riding in the lower payload position on Vega was Venµs, the first Israeli-made satellite created for environmental research purposes, Venµs was developed by Israel Aerospace Industries’ Space Division, with Rafael providing the propulsion system. The spacecraft has a liftoff mass set at 264 kg.

Venµs – which is the acronym for “Vegetation and Environment on a New Micro Satellite” – will study the evolution of the Earth’s vegetation during its scientific mission, while the satellite’s technological mission will provide in-flight qualification of the Israeli Electrical Propulsion System, based on Hall-Effect thrusters.

Flight VV10 was Arianespace’s eighth mission of 2017. It followed the launches of four Ariane 5s, two Soyuz vehicles and one Vega so far this year.



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