Italy orders second pair of Cosmo-SkyMed radar satellites


WASHINGTON — The Italian government has ordered two additional Cosmo-SkyMed radar imaging satellites from Thales Alenia Space and tapped Telespazio to upgrade the constellation’s ground segment under a contract announced Dec. 15.

The Italian Defense Ministry and Italian Space Agency (ASI) are funding the project, which provides synthetic aperture radar imagery to miltiary and civilian users. Telespazio sells commercial Cosmo-SkyMed imagery via its e-Geos venture with ASI.

No launch dates were given for the two new satellites, but Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio said their launch would complete the second-generation Cosmo-SkyMed constellation and allow the retirement of the four first-generation spacecraft operating well beyond their intended lifetimes.

Itay’s first second-generation Cosmo-SkyMed satellite launched in December 2019 from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana aboard a Soyuz rocket booked through Arianespace. The second satellite is scheduled to launch from the South American spaceport late next year on an Arianespace-operated Vega C.

The four first-generation Cosmo-SkyMed satellites, which launched between 2007 and 2010, remain in service.

Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio said the second-generation satellites, combined with ground segment improvements, will offer better image quality and more responsive tasking than the first-generation Cosmo-SkyMed system.

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