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Deal signed for space-based imaging
by Staff Writers
Cannes, France (UPI) Jul 20, 2011

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Thales Alenia Space Italia will study the definition and feasibility of Europe's Multinational Space-based Imaging System .

The contract for the MUSIS Federated Activities program was signed with OCCAR-EA, the Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation, which was acting on behalf of the French and Italian ministries of defense and which awarded the contract to a temporary grouping of companies made up of Astrium of France and Thales Alenia Space France, led by Thales Alenia Space Italia.

The study is aimed at defining a common interoperability layer between the ground segments of the Italian COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation and the French CSO (Optical Space Component) high-resolution optical system.

The two defense ministries will be guaranteed access to both systems through this common interoperability, providing them with multi-sensor observation capabilities.

This approach has several objectives, including:

-- Guaranteed mutual access for Italy and France to both SAR and high- and very-high resolution optical satellite capabilities, at the same time ensuring suitable mutual confidentiality requirements.

-- Reduced life-cycle costs through the development of common user interfaces providing access for both national systems.

-- Ensured full consistency and compatibility with the development plans of the respective national programs.

The development of the common interoperability layer is part of the broader MUSIS program, which calls for a federation of several national systems endowed with complementary observation capabilities.

Italy will contribute to the program by building -- under the responsibility of the Italian Space Agency and the Ministry of Defense -- two satellites equipped with radar sensors, with active SAR antenna, called COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation.

Although primarily designed to meet Italy's and France's programs and operational needs, the development of CIL will also give other countries interested in the MUSIS program access to the CSG and CSO systems and possibly extend its functions to other federated space components.

With the start of the MUSIS-CIL project, France and Italy will further strengthen their profitable bilateral relationship, putting it in an even European broader context where they can achieve their respective objectives and attain a common goal.

Thales said the COSMO-SkyMed second-generation system represents the technological evolution of COSMO-SkyMed, made up of four satellites. The system "watches" the Earth day and night and under any atmospheric condition through the use of high-resolution X-band radar systems.

Thales Alenia Space is the prime contractor, with responsibility for the entire system, including the space and ground segment.

COSMO-SkyMed is managed by the Italian Space Agency within the scope of an ASI/Defense joint Program Office and is the first completely dual project developed worldwide.

The CSO is the follow-on to the Helios 2 French program for which Thales Alenia Space will supply the very-high-resolution optical imaging instrument.

The European leader in satellite systems and a major player in orbital infrastructures, Thales Alenia Space is a joint venture between Thales and Finmeccanica.


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