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Italian Space Agency and NASA Sign Agreement on Use of COSMO-SkyMed Satellites

Press Release From:
Posted: Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The agreement envisions cooperation in the field of Earth Observation through the Italian “COSMO-SkyMed” radar satellite constellation. Post-doctoral scholarships for Italian researchers will also be available in the United States.

Washington, September 9, 2015– The Italian Space Agency and NASA signed an important agreement today on elaboration and analysis of Earth Observation data. NASA will now be able to use Italian COSMO-SkyMed program data, the most sophisticated Earth Observation radar constellation, which is capable of observing surfaces at night and when visibility is limited by cloud coverage, which is particularly useful to monitor and help contain natural disasters. In addition, NASA will also be able to use data to study the slow movements of the earth’s crust, and in matters of security. The agreement was signed at the Italian Embassy in Washington, D.C. by ASI President Roberto Battiston and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

NASA will now obtain COSMO-SkyMed mission data for specific research projects agreed upon by the two parties. In exchange, ASI will use the Alaska Satellite Facility (ASF), which will receive satellite data. In addition, each year, NASA will grant post-doctoral scholarships to Italy’s best young researchers to work on earth observation in laboratories and research centers associated with NASA.

President Battiston said: “This agreement is an important result, both in terms of the scientific excellence of our American partners – NASA, with which we have long enjoyed a productive collaboration – and because cooperation in Earth Observation with such a great country as the United States enhances the ability to fully exploit Italian investments in this field, as it opens commercial possibilities. This agreement will enable our best researchers to continue their studies in US centers associated with NASA, and to have access to radar systems in Alaska, a position which is key to receive large quantities of data provided by our national constellation. COSMO-SkyMed is a feather in Italy’s space system cap, and Italy is proud to contribute to the prevention and management of emergency response, not to mention climate change, by enabling access to its data”.

“NASA and ASI” – declared NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden “go back a long way in matters of cooperation on space and earth science missions, and we are delighted that we are building on this tradition in the framework of today’s newly-signed agreement.”

The Ambassador of Italy to the United States, Claudio Bisogniero, expressed great satisfaction over the signing of this agreement which, he added, “represents a new milestone in the Italy-US half century of space collaboration, which grows steadfastly stronger and expands in new areas of joint action. COSMO-SkyMed opens doors to further enhancing this collaboration.”

The ASI – NASA agreement was signed on the margins of the workshop on “The Italian COSMO-SkyMed Satellites: an opportunity to better observe our Planet”. The Italian delegation included Air Force General Roberto Vittori, ESA astronaut and Space Attaché at the Embassy, Laura Candela, Head of ASI’s Earth Observation Unit, ASI Chief Scientist Enrico Flamini, e-Geos CEO Marcello Maranesi, e-Geos President Roberto Ibba and Lorenzo D’Onghia, Telespazio Chief Commercial Officer.

The workshop focused on the potential and prospects of COSMO-SkyMed’s First and Second Generation constellations, a development which will enable the skipping of a generation in terms of technology, performance and system service life, while strengthening Italy’s leadership in SAR Earth Observation.

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