France: For its 10th Vega mission and eighth launch of the year, Arianespace will launch two earth observation satellites for civil and military applications: OPTSAT-3000 for the Italian Ministry of Defence; and Venus, a mission of the Israel Space Agency (ISA) – a government body sponsored by the country’s Ministry of Science and Technology – and the French CNES space agency (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales).
This marks the seventh earth observation mission for the versatile Vega launch vehicle. The launch will be performed from the Vega Launch Complex (ZLV) in Kourou, French Guiana. The Launch Readiness Review (LRR) will take place on Monday, July 31, 2017 in Kourou, to authorize the start of operations for the final countdown.
OPTSAT-3000 is an earth observation program for the Italian Ministry of Defense. It comprises a high-resolution optical satellite and a ground segment for in-orbit control, mission planning and the acquisition and processing of images.
OPTSAT-3000 will allow national defense entities to acquire and use high-resolution images from any part of the globe. The OPTSAT-3000 system will be interoperable with Italy’s second-generation COSMO-SkyMed radar satellites. This will give the Italian Defense Ministry access to state-of-the-art technology, and ensure maximum operational capabilities because of the combined optical and radar data offered by the two systems.
The OPTSAT-3000 system is supplied by prime contractor Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%). Telespazio is responsible for the entire system, including the satellite, ground segment, launch and early orbital operations, preparation and execution of operations and logistics, in-orbit tests and commissioning.
The satellite and ground control systems were built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), chosen by the Italian Ministry of Defense on the basis of an inter-governmental agreement between Italy and Israel. OHB Italia is responsible for the launch services and related engineering support.
On the one hand, where the OPTSAT-3000 is a three-axis stabilized satellite, highly autonomous and combining reduced weight, low power consumption and high reliability; Venus, on the other hand, is an earth observation and exploratory mission of the Israel Space Agency (ISA) – a government body sponsored by the country’s Ministry of Science and Technology – and the French CNES space agency (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales).
While the satellite‘s designation may sound like the name of a planet, it actually is the acronym for: Vegetation and Environment monitoring on a New Micro Satellite. By analyzing and comparing images taken from the same location, researchers will be able to assess the state of the soil, understand how vegetation is developing, and detect the spreading of disease or contamination in the field.
The satellite will image vast areas around the globe and provide dozens of images every day, each of them covering approximately 760 square kilometers. Venus will fly in a Sun-synchronous, near-polar orbit – which enables its return to view each area around the world, exactly at the same time and under the same imagery conditions.
Venus is equipped with a multi-spectral camera that can capture important details, some of which are not visible to the human eye.
CNES is in charge of the multi-spectral instrument (camera), the image processing and the image distribution ground station. Elbit Electro-Optic Systems, Elop Ltd. developed the camera for CNES.
ISA is in charge of development and integration of the satellite, the platform, the monitoring and control center, and the electrical propulsion system.