The agreement will initiate Phase C3 of the programme, which includes activities relating to the completion of the basic design and technological developments of the system, both for on-board components. This includes two cutting-edge technology and performance satellites and all terrestrial infrastructure (ground segment, operations, and logistics).
In order to optimise the organisation of all implementation activities concerning the realisation of the system and the operational management of the Programme, a TCC has been set up with Thales Alenia Space Italia serving as the emissary and Telespazio as the principal.
The agreement provides Thales Alenia Space Italia with a tranche of 43.6 million euros, 23 million of which relate to activities of Telespazio. Telepazio will be responsible for the handling the ground segment and integrated logistics operations.
COSMO-SkyMed (Constellation of Small Satellites for Mediterranean basin Observation) is a 4-spacecraft constellation, conceived by ASI (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana), and funded by the Italian Ministry of Research (MUR) and the Italian Ministry of Defense (MoD), Rome, Italy. The program is managed in cooperation of ASI and MoD.
The contract was assigned to an Italian industrial team, that is in charge of the project development. Thales Alenia Space Italia (TAS-I) is the prime contractor of the end-to-end system and leads an industrial team of small and medium sized Italian companies including many from the Finmeccanica group. Telespazio is the main ground segment contractor responsible for the development of the control center for the constellation, and of the user’s ground segments for acquiring, processing and distributing the data gathered by the satellites for civil and defence applications. The COSMO-SkyMed program represents the largest Italian investment in space systems for Earth Observation.
Each of the four satellites is equipped with a SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) instrument and is capable of operating in all visibility conditions at high resolution and in real time. The overall objective of this program is global Earth observation and the relevant data exploitation for the needs of the military community as well as for the civil (institutional, commercial) community.
Strategic international partnerships, such as that already in place with France and Poland, will also be expanded.