Italy: The Italian Space Agency has signed Sitael as the prime contractor for a new 200-kilogram small satellite line called Platino.
Platino is an all-electric satellite platform for high-performance missions in telecommunications, remote sensing or science missions, and it has been optimized to launch on Vega, the light-lift Italian rocket
Platino is part of Italy’s quest to develop and ensure a domestic space industry with an important place in the world fora.
Italian Space Agency President Roberto Battiston said: “ Platino gives the foundations of the development for a competitive asset on the international market with satellites based on components designed and manufactured in Italy at the industrial level.”
Anna Sirica, ASI’s director general, said: “ Platino will provide Italy with several new technologies that can be used extensively on other segments of satellite systems developed by the European industry.”.
Sitael’s partners on Platino include Thales Alenia Space, Space Engineering and Leonardo, all of which are based in Italy. Nicola Zaccheo, Sitael’s CEO, said Sitael’s goal is to differentiate Platino with high-performance characteristics, such as long life in very low orbits, inter-satellite links and miniaturized control moment gyroscopes (CMGs) for very accurate pointing. The consortium will seek to bring a satellite in order to launch in less than 12 months, he said.
Platino’s baseline launcher is Vega through SSMS, the Small Spacecraft Mission Service adapter Avio and ESA are developing. SSMS is designed to accommodate small satellites from cubesats to spacecraft weighing a few hundred kilograms and has a first launch scheduled for late 2018 or early 2019.
Vega can launch around 1,500 kilograms to a 700-kilometer orbit and will get a performance boost to 2,200 kilograms with the next generation Vega C in 2019. Other launcher options in addition to Vega will also be available, Zaccheo said.