Italy: CGS SpA Compagnia Generale per lo Spazio, satellite manufacturer, and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) signed a contract to design an Italian-built high-resolution optical earth observation (EO) satellite that the Italian government would operate for military and civil applications in tandem with its Cosmo SkyMed radar satellite constellation.
Milan-based CGS will perform an 18-month Phase B design of Italy’s OpSis system under contract a contract with the ASI valued at EUR 13.5 million (USD 17 million). The contract was signed on July 6.
CGS Managing Director Lanfranco Zucconi said OpSis’ development is being financed solely by civil Italian government agencies and currently has no backing from the Italian Defense Ministry.
As such, he said, OpSis’ future is unrelated to the Italian Defense Ministry’s decision to purchase an Israeli high-resolution optical satellite as part of an offset arrangement that includes the Israeli Air Force’s purchase of trainer jet aircraft from Italy’s Alenia Aermacchi.
An Aermacchi official said that the company expects the jet-trainer contract to be signed in the near future. He said the offsets are part of separate negotiations between Italian and Israeli defense authorities.
Italian officials have referred to the Israeli satellite, a 300-kilogram spacecraft capable of detecting objects of about 50 centimeters in diameter, as OpSat.
Zucconi said OpSat should be viewed as a gapfiller for the OpSis system, which is also designed to have a 50-centimeter ground resolution. In a July 12 statement, OHB said OpSis “will operate together with existing systems currently used by ASI and the Italian Department of Defense.”
Source: Space News