July 18, 2011 defpro.com
Cannes | Thales Alenia Space Italia announces the signature of a contract with OCCAR-EA (Organization for Joint Armament Co-operation) for the study phase for the definition and feasibility of the Multinational Space-based Imaging System (MUSIS) Federated Activities program. OCCAR-EA acted on behalf of the French and Italian Ministries of Defense, and awarded the contract to a Temporary Grouping of Companies made up of Astrium France and Thales Alenia Space France, led by Thales Alenia Space Italia.
The study is aimed at defining a Common Interoperability Layer (CIL) 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 (SAR and Optical).
This approach has several objectives:
- guarantee 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.
- reduce life cycle costs through the development of common user interfaces providing access for both national systems;
- ensure full consistency and compatibility with the development plans of the respective national programs.
The development of the CIL 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 this 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 and France's program 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, which have collaborated in the defense and space sector for decades, 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.
The COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation system represents the technological evolution of COSMO-SkyMed, made up of a constellation of four satellites., With cutting edge global technology, the system “watches” our planet day and night and under any atmospheric condition thanks to the 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 (ASI) within the scope of an ASI/Defense joint Program Office and is the first completely dual project developed worldwide.
CSO (Composante Spatiale Optique – optical space component) is the follow-on to the Helios 2 French programme for which Thales Alenia Space will supply the very-high-resolution optical imaging instrument.