The first contracts for the development of two components of the IRIDE constellation, one of the most important European Earth observation satellite space programs, were signed today in Rome during the New Space Economy European Expoforum (NSE). IRIDE will be built in Italy on the initiative of the government thanks to the resources of the PNRR and will be completed within five years with the support of the ESA – European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency (ASI).
What is the IRIDE satellite constellation
IRIDE is an end-to-end system made up of constellations of LEO satellites (Upstream Segment), the operational ground infrastructure (Downstream Segment) and services intended for the Italian Public Administration (Service Segment). Being based on a number of different sensing techniques and technologies, the IRIS constellation will be one of a kind; ranges from microwave imaging (using Synthetic Aperture Radar, SAR), to optical imaging at various spatial resolutions (from high to medium resolution) and in different frequency ranges, from panchromatic, to multispectral, to hyperspectral, to infrared bands. Therefore, it can be regarded as “a constellation of constellations.
What can be the jobs
The constellation, together with other national and European space systems, will also support the Civil Protection and other Administrations to counter hydrogeological instability and fires, protect the coasts, monitor critical infrastructures, air quality and weather conditions. Finally, it will provide analytical data for the development of commercial applications by startups, small and medium-sized enterprises and sector industries.
The deal has a total value of 68 million euros for 22 satellites
There are two activities covered by the contracts signed today. One is the High Resolution Multispectral Mission, by Argotec (Turin), whose contract provides for the development and delivery of a first batch of 10 satellites (and the development of the related Flight Operation Segment, FOS) by November 2024 with the option negotiated for a second batch of 15 satellites, to be delivered by November 2025. The Argotec-led industrial team includes the partners Officina Stellare and Rhea System. The other activity concerns the High Resolution Multispectral Mission of OHB Italia (Milan). The contract provides for the development and delivery of a first lot of 12 satellites (and the development of the related Flight Operation Segment, FOS) by November 2024 with the negotiated option for a second lot of 12 satellites, to be delivered by November 2025. The industrial team led by OHB Italia includes the partners OPTEC, Telespazio and Aresys.
The current agreement has a total value of 68 million euros for 22 satellites, of which 10 built by Argotec and 12 built by OHB Italia. By the end of 2025, with the optional assignment of the second batch of satellites, the combination of the two constellations will allow the daily review of each location in Italy with a ground sampling distance (GSD) of the order of 2 metres. This would represent an investment of around €126 million.