Lancio Bello di Delta II


We have many observation satellites orbiting Earth. Now we have another.

Delta nailed it again, this time from Vandenberg A.F.B in California:

"It is very emotional," said a tearful Francesca Sette, Thales Alenia Space-Italia. "We worked very hard for six months on this event; and during the last six months, we began to work 24 hours per day to ensure we completed this project on time."

The group from the Italian launch community used the Pacific Coast Club here to observe the event. An extravagant event, it included everything from 30 plasma screen TVs, to a live broadcast from Rome with a speech by Italian Minister of Defense, Arturo Parisi.

After watching the rocket lifting off the pad during a live broadcast in the PCC, an Italian train of 100 people went hurrying through the door to observe the Delta II rocketing through the sky outside. People were jumping up and down and hugging each other in celebration.

"It was so beautiful," said Mara Midealo, the wife of a Thales Alenia employee. "This was my first launch and it was a great event."

Thales Alenia Space Italia developed the COSMO-Skymed program for Agenzia Spaziale Italiana, using an X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar instrument. More about the mission:

The Cosmo-Skymed satellites are intended to provide monitoring, surveillance and intelligence data during international crisis for military customers, and environmental surveillance of floods, fires, landslides, and oil spill as well as earth topographic mapping, law enforcement for commercial, civilian institutions and scientific communities. Each satellite will be equipped with one X-band multipolarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) that will provide coverage of areas with a maximum width of up to 520 km.

The Cosmo-Skymed satellites will provide high resolution metric and sub-metric imagery through clouds, at night, with a revisit time of few hours. The 4 satellites constellation will acquire and furnish data worldwide.

The SAR sensor can work in four acquisition modes. Using the SPOTLIGHT mode the SAR scans with a resolution of one or less than a meter covering an area of tens of square kilometers. The HIMAGE (stripmap) acquisition mode provides a few meters resolution covering areas featuring a width of several tens of kilometers. The WIDEREGION, also known as ScanSAR, features tens of meters of resolution and swathes areas of hundreds of kilometers. Finally, the HUGEREGION acquisition mode swathes up to 520 km wide areas with a resolution of several tens of meters.