COSMO-SkyMed (Constellation of Small Satellites for Mediterranean basin Observation) is a 4-spacecraft constellation, conceived by ASI (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana), and funded by the Italian Ministry of Research (MUR) and the Italian Ministry of Defense (MoD), Rome, Italy. The program is managed in cooperation of ASI and MoD. The contract was assigned to an Italian industrial team, that is in charge of the project development. Thales Alenia Space Italia (TAS-I) is the prime contractor of the end-to-end system and leads an industrial team of small and medium sized Italian companies including many from the Finmeccanica group. Telespazio is the main Ground Segment contractor responsible for the development of the control center for the constellation, and of the user's ground segments for acquiring, processing and distributing the data gathered by the satellites for civil and defence applications. -The COSMO-SkyMed program represents the largest Italian investment in space systems for Earth Observation.

Each of the four satellites is equipped with a SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) instrument and is capable of operating in all visibility conditions at high resolution and in real time. The overall objective of this program is global Earth observation and the relevant data exploitation for the needs of the military community as well as for the civil (institutional, commercial) community.


  • providing defense and security in Italy as well as other countries;

  • mapping and updating of topographic and special maps as well as plans up to the scale of 1:10 000;

  • creation of digital terrain models accurate to 2-4 m;

  • monitoring environmental disasters such as floods and landslides;

  • monitoring coastlines, seas and internal waters;

  • agricultural monitoring to check on harvests and manage treatment cycles;

  • cartography using images.


  Launch date:

 June 8, 2007 (COSMO-SkyMed-1),
December 9, 2007 (COSMO-SkyMed-2),
October 25, 2008 (COSMO-SkyMed-3),
November 6, 2010 (COSMO-SkyMed-4)


Alenia Spazio (Italy)

  Launch Site:

Vandenberg Air Force Base (USA)

Launch vehicle:

Delta II (USA)


e-GEOS (Italy)


 1900 kg



Sun Synchronous


619,6 km


97,86 deg.

Spec Mission Life:

   5 years

Spectral range (3,1 cm) - X
Imaging modes Single polarization (on choosing — either HH/VV/HV/VH) Double polarization (on choosing — either HH/VV/HV/VH)
Super high resolution(Spotlight or «Frame») High resolution
(HIMAGE or Stripmap)
Middle resolution (WideRegion or ScanSAR) Low resolution(Huge Region or ScanSAR) Middle resolution with double polarization (Ping Pong or Stripmap)
Nominal spatial resolution, m ≤ 1  3-15  30  100  15 
Swath width, km 10x10  40  100  200  30 
Downlink data rate to the ground segment, Mbit/s 300
Dynamic range, bits per pixel 8
Data format CEOS
Processing Radiometric, sensor and geometric correction. Bringing to cartographic projection, DEM creation
Revisit time , hours 12

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