US: Boeing Company successfully launched the last in a series of four SkyMed spacecraft for the Italian Constellation of Small Satellites for Mediterranean basin Observation (COSMO). A Delta II rocket, procured from United Launch Alliance for Thales Alenia Space, lifted off from pad Space Launch Complex-2W, Vandenberg Air Force Base, US. The COSMO SkyMed-4 spacecraft was deployed to low Earth orbit approximately 58 minutes after liftoff.
Thales Alenia Space developed the COSMO-SkyMed programme for the Italian Space Agency and the Italian Ministry of Defence. It is an end-to-end Earth-observation, civil and military system comprising four medium-sized satellites as well as supporting ground stations that provide orbit control systems, data reception and processing. The system will take images of the Earth using an X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar instrument capable of operating in all visibility conditions. This instrument was installed at the request of institutional and commercial users, including members of the civil, scientific and defence communities.