COSMO-SkyMed

  • Multiple daily revisits over any Area of Interest
  • X-band SAR 4 satellite constellation
  • Weather independent
  • Multiple imaging modes and polarisation options (1m up to 100m)

Product Description

COSMO-SkyMed

COSMO-SkyMed (Constellation of Small Satellites for the Mediterranean basin Observation) is an Earth-observation satellite space-based radar system funded by the Italian Ministry of Research (MUR) and Ministry of Defence (MoD) and conducted by the Italian Space Agency (ASI), intended for both military and civilian use.

The COSMO-SkyMed constellation comprises four identical satellites that “watch” the Earth day and night, under any atmospheric conditions, thanks to high-resolution X-band radar. The system was implemented in stages: the first satellite was launched in June 2007, the second in December 2007, the third in October 2008 and the fourth in November 2010.

The COSMO-SkyMed system involves a constellation of four satellites equipped with radar sensors that can operate under any weather or visibility conditions and with a very high revisit frequency. 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.

The space segment of the system includes four identical medium-sized (1900 kg) satellites called COSMO-SkyMed (or COSMO) 1, 2, 3, 4, equipped with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensors with global coverage of the planet. Observations of an area of interest can be repeated several times a day in all-weather conditions. The imagery will be applied to defence and security assurance in Italy and other countries, seismic hazard analysis, environmental disaster monitoring, and agricultural mapping.

COSMO-SkyMed was conceived as a programme capable of meeting civil needs (environmental monitoring, civil protection, Oil & Gas) as well as military ones. The general features enable interoperability with other systems and the use in the context of international agreements. In particular, COSMO-SkyMed is able to meet the stringent operating requirements of Copernicus, the European programme for Earth observation.

With this constellation information can be acquired over the whole surface of the globe. In average it takes images of the same area every 12 hours and each satellite is capable of generating 450 pictures every day.

Sample applications of COSMO-SkyMed data are seen the following fields:

  • Defence and security applications: Surveillance, intelligence, mapping, damage assessment, vulnerability assessment, target detection/localization
  • Risk management applications: Floods, droughts, landslides, volcanic/seismic, forest fire, industrial hazards, water pollution
  • Other applications: Marine and coastal environments, agriculture, forestry, cartography, environment, geology and exploration, telecommunication, utilities and planning
  • Provision of commercial imaging services
  • The high revisit frequency offered by the four X-band SAR spacecraft is also expected to provide a unique potential to the operational meteorological user community through provision of ancillary data and/or data on meteo-correlated phenomena, in particular as regards sea ice monitoring and study of ocean wave patterns.
  • A strong emphasis is given to the dual-use (civil and military) nature of the system. The IEM (Interoperability, Expandability and Multi-sensoriality) concepts are also stressed, since these qualities bring COSMO-SkyMed to be a versatile system able to expand its architecture toward a set of “Partner missions.”

The COSMO-SkyMed four satellite constellation provides multiple daily passes over any Area of Interest in the world. The orbit repeat cycle is 16 days, with a revisit time of 5 days for each satellite. The spatial resolution of various SAR modes of the four satellite X-band COSMO-SkyMed (CSK) constellation is listed in the table below.

SensorModeResolutionSwathPolarisation
e-GEOS COSMO-SkyMedSpotlight-21 m7 x 7 kmSingle: HH or VV
e-GEOS COSMO-SkyMedSpotlight-21 m10 x 10 kmSingle: HH or VV
e-GEOS COSMO-SkyMedStripMap Himage3 m

5 m Multilook

40 x 40 kmSingle: HH or VV or HV or VH
e-GEOS COSMO-SkyMedStripMap PingPong15 m

20 m Multilook

30 x 30 kmAlternating: HH + VV or HH+ HV or VV + VH
e-GEOS COSMO-SkyMedScanSAR Wide Region16 m

30 m Multilook

100 x 100 kmSingle: HH or VV or HV or VH
e-GEOS COSMO-SkyMedScanSAR Huge Region30 m

100 m Multilook

200 x 200 kmSingle: HH or VV or HV or VH