Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Launch Notification: COSMO-SKYMED 4

Courtesy of AGI's Launch Notification e-mails. AGI's E-mails are sent after every launch and include key spacecraft information such as: the date, time, launch site, launcher, international number, name, and owner. Get more information on thousands of satellites and other vehicles by viewing STK models, animations, and our encyclopedic "Spacecraft Digest" database at

New Launch: 2010 November 6, 0220 UTC
Site: Air Force Western Test Range, California, USA
Launcher: Delta II
International Designator(s): 2010-060A

SSC Name Owner

"There was a sentimental blastoff from California on Friday night as the venerable Delta 2 made its one-and-only flight of the year, chalking up a major milestone for the rocket family's lasting legacy while also finishing deployment of Italy's radar satellite quartet that images the world for peace and security.

"Launching at 7:20 p.m. from Vandenberg Air Force Base, the space booster that has defined dependability for two decades successfully shot the COSMO-SkyMed 4 craft into orbit."

"The purpose of Friday's launch was hauling the COSMO-SkyMed 4 satellite into its desired orbital perch, joining three sister-craft deployed by previous Delta 2 rockets in 2007 and 2008.

"It is Italy's home-grown Earth observing system, a constellation of radar satellites built for civil and military reconnaissance in a flagship program carrying a 1 billion euro price tag.

"Developed by Thales Alenia Space Italia for the Italian Space Agency and the Italian Ministry of Defence, the COSMO-SkyMed system is the country's largest space project.

"Each satellite is equipped with an X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar instrument for environmental monitoring, resource management and territorial security surveillance. They are capable of seeing the ground in daylight or darkness, with clear skies or cloudy ones.

"The craft can produce 450 images per day and the picture-collecting time between civil and military uses is proportional to the financial contributions made during development of the system. The Italian Space Agency funded about 70 percent and the Ministry of Defence provided about 30 percent.

"Imagery released for civilian purposes have a resolution of 1 meter, meaning objects as small as that size can be seen. The military capability is even sharper, though its exact resolution is classified.

"The satellites have proved themselves beneficial to humanitarian organizations responding to natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes.

"The constellation of four satellites enables any specific region of the planet to be observed by COSMO-SkyMed every six hours. That allow authorities to assess and begin responding when a crisis strikes."

Source: Spaceflight Now, "350 launches and counting for family of Delta rockets"