Encyclopedia Astronautica
Cosmo-SkyMed



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Cosmo-SkyMed
Credit: ASI
Italian military surveillance radar satellite. Constellation of four satellites launched 2007.06.08 - 2010.11.06.

COSMO-SkyMed (Constellation of Small Satellites for Mediterranean basin Observation) was planned as a constellation of four Synthetic Aperture Radar satellites for primarily military surveillance, but with products made available to civilian users as well.

The system was funded by the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana and the Italian Ministry of Defense. Italy began initial work in 1996 on a national Earth observation program. In 2001 the Ministry of Defense became a partner in the COSMO-SkyMed program, which led to subsequent details becoming classified.

The first satellite used an X-band radar; later satellites were to be equipped with more sophisticated multi-mode X-, C- L- and P-band instruments. The constellation and associated ground segment were to provide global, all-weather, day-night surveillance coverage of the earth's surface. Stereo imaging would be possible in a single pass, and ground track repeatability was to be better than 1 km.

The spacecraft were three-axis stabilized. The Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic bus was equipped with two deployable solar arrays and the SAR antenna. A star tracker and a high-quality GPS receiver provided the necessary positional and pointing accuracy. The SAR antenna pointed 38 to the right of the satellite ground track. Momentum wheels and a liquid propellant reaction control system positioned the spacecraft.

The satellites were deployed in sun-synchronous dawn-dusk orbits, all spacecraft in the same orbital plane. The full constellation would achieve a revisit time of a few hours on a global scale. The COSMO-Skymed constellation could be operated in a nominal stand-alone configuration or pairs could be operated in an interferometric configuration. The interferometric configuration allowed acquisition of 3D SAR imagery by combining radar measurements from two satellites of the same target from slightly different incidence angles. It required control of the baseline distance between the two satellites with an accuracy of tens of meters.

The SAR-2000 radar was built by Alcatel Alenia Space. A swath width of between 10 and 200 km was available, depending on mode, with any target within 650 km left or right of the ground target being observable. Acquisition modes were:

  • Spotlight / Frame: Spot observation area: 10 km x 10 km, resolution under 1 m
  • HIMAGE / Stripmap: Swath width: 40 km, resolution 3-15 m
  • WideRegion / ScanSAR: Swath width: 100 km, resolution 30 m
  • HugeRegion / ScanSAR: Swath width: 200 km, resolution 100 m
  • Ping Pong / Stripmap: Swath width: 30 km, resolution: 15 m

Characteristics

Electric System: 3.60 average kW. Battery: 336.00 Ah.

Gross mass: 1,700 kg (3,700 lb).
First Launch: 2007.06.08.
Last Launch: 2010.11.06.
Number: 4 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Delta The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Development began in 1955 and it continued in service in the 21st Century despite numerous candidate replacements. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Delta American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Delta began as Thor, a crash December 1955 program to produce an intermediate range ballistic missile using existing components, which flew thirteen months after go-ahead. Fifteen months after that, a space launch version flew, using an existing upper stage. The addition of solid rocket boosters allowed the Thor core and Able/Delta upper stages to be stretched. Costs were kept down by using first and second-stage rocket engines surplus to the Apollo program in the 1970's. Continuous introduction of new 'existing' technology over the years resulted in an incredible evolution - the payload into a geosynchronous transfer orbit increasing from 68 kg in 1962 to 3810 kg by 2002. Delta survived innumerable attempts to kill the program and replace it with 'more rationale' alternatives. By 2008 nearly 1,000 boosters had flown over a fifty-year career, and cancellation was again announced. More...
  • Delta 7420-XC Three stage vehicle consisting of 4 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K with 3.05 m (10 foot) diameter composite fairing More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • ASI Italian agency overseeing development of spacecraft. Agenzia Spaziale Italiano (Italian space agency), Italy. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC2W Delta launch complex. Originally a Thor 75 SMS launch pad. Upgraded to a space launch complex in 1966. More...

Cosmo-SkyMed Chronology


2007 June 8 - . 02:34 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7420-XC. LV Configuration: Delta 7420-10C D324.
  • Cosmo-SkyMed 1 - . Mass: 1,700 kg (3,700 lb). Nation: Italy. Agency: ASI. Manufacturer: Alenia. Class: Surveillance. Type: Civilian surveillance radar satellite. Spacecraft: Cosmo-SkyMed. USAF Sat Cat: 31598 . COSPAR: 2007-023A. Apogee: 626 km (388 mi). Perigee: 622 km (386 mi). Inclination: 97.9000 deg. Period: 97.20 min. Summary: The first of four Constellation of Small Satellites for Mediterranean basin Observation, Synthetic Aperture Radar satellites for primarily Italian military surveillance, but with products made available to civilian users as well..

2007 December 9 - . 02:31 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7420-10. LV Configuration: Delta 7420-10 D330.
  • Cosmo-SkyMed 2 - . Mass: 1,700 kg (3,700 lb). Nation: Italy. Agency: ASI. Manufacturer: Alenia. Class: Surveillance. Type: Civilian surveillance radar satellite. Spacecraft: Cosmo-SkyMed. USAF Sat Cat: 32376 . COSPAR: 2007-059A. Apogee: 624 km (387 mi). Perigee: 621 km (385 mi). Inclination: 97.9000 deg. Period: 97.20 min. Summary: Second Italian military radar satellite in the Cosmo-Skymed system..

2008 October 25 - . 02:28 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7420-10. LV Configuration: Delta 7420-10 s/n D336.
  • COSMO 3 - . Mass: 1,900 kg (4,100 lb). Nation: Italy. Agency: Martin. Class: Surveillance. Type: Civilian surveillance radar satellite. Spacecraft: Cosmo-SkyMed. USAF Sat Cat: 33412 . COSPAR: 2008-054A. Apogee: 623 km (387 mi). Perigee: 622 km (386 mi). Inclination: 97.9000 deg. Period: 97.20 min. Summary: Part of Italy's all-weather military surveillance constellation; carried X-band synthetic aperture radar..

2010 November 6 - . 02:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7420-10.
  • Cosmo-SkyMed 4 - . Nation: Italy. Class: Surveillance. Type: Civilian surveillance radar satellite. Spacecraft: Cosmo-SkyMed. USAF Sat Cat: 37216 . COSPAR: 2010-060A. Apogee: 623 km (387 mi). Perigee: 622 km (386 mi). Inclination: 97.9000 deg. Period: 97.20 min. Summary: X-band radar satellite..

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