The challenge for Earth observation with Iride, one of the most important European satellite space programmes, has begun. And he sees Italy, with its businesses and a program worth 68 million euros for the construction of 22 satellites, among the protagonists.
The first step
The first contracts, for the development of two components of the constellation, were signed (on 3 December) at the Fiera di Roma, during the NSE New Space Economy European Expoforum between ESA and the Argotec and OHB Italia industries, respectively represented by David Avino (CEO of Argotec) and by Roberto Aceti (CEO of OHB Italia). All in the context of a ceremony attended by Simonetta Cheli, director of ESA Earth Observation Programs and Head of ESRIN, and the Head of the Office for Space and Aerospace Policies of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Elena Grifoni Winters, representing the Italian Government, as well as the President of the Italian Space Agency, Giorgio Saccoccia.
The work, as emphasized by ESA, will be “carried out in Italy” on the initiative of the Government thanks to the resources of the PNRR and will be completed by 2026 under the management of ESA – European Space Agency – and with the support of the Italian Space Agency (ASI)».
The agreement, the promoters underline, «has a total value of 68 million euros for 22 satellites, of which 10 made by Argotec and 12 made by OHB Italia» Specifically, it concerns the «High Resolution Multispectral Mission, by Argotec ( Turin)» and the «High Resolution Multispectral Mission, of OHB Italia (Milan)». In the first case, the contract envisages «the development and delivery of a first lot of 10 satellites (and the development of the related Flight Operation Segment) by November 2024 with the negotiated option for a second lot of 15 satellites, to be delivered by November 2025 The Argotec-led industrial team includes the partners Officina Stellare and Rhea System. In the second case, “the development and delivery of a first batch of 12 satellites (and the development of the related Flight Operation Segment) is expected by November 2024 with the negotiated option for a second batch of 12 satellites, to be delivered by November 2025 – clarified by ESA -. The industrial team led by OHB Italia includes the partners OPTEC, Telespazio and Aresys».
From space to civil protection
As for future uses: Iride, considered unique of its kind and defined as a “constellation of constellations”, together with other national and European space systems, «will also support the Civil Protection and other Administrations to counter hydrogeological instability and fires, protect coasts, monitor critical infrastructure, air quality and weather conditions. Not only that, among other activities also that of providing “analytical data for the development of commercial applications by startups, small and medium-sized enterprises and sector industries”.