COSMO- Skymed ( Constellation of small Satellites for Mediterranean basin Observation ) is an Italian satellite program. When completed, it consists of four satellites, offset by 90 °, orbiting the Earth at an altitude of around 620 kilometers on a sun-synchronous orbit. The radar data is to serve both civilian Earth observation, as well as for military reconnaissance of the Mediterranean.


The satellites carry an imaging X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR ), which evaluates the degree of polarization of backscattering ( Multipolarimetrie ). The antenna is electronically swivel. When overflight they can detect a swath width of 10 to 500 -kilometers by SAR mode from a strip of about 1500 kilometers wide. In Spot mode, it forms an area of ​​ten by ten kilometers in civilian use, with a resolution of one meter from. By radar interferometry to measure two closely spaced satellites flying the soil profile of the Earth with an accuracy of up to eight meters. The satellites are equipped with GPS receivers. Even without control points that allows images to 15 meters accurately locate on Earth.

In a satellite, the time is up to the crossing of a selected region for almost three days. When four satellites it is reduced to twelve hours. Data is transmitted at a rate of 310 Mbps to the ground station. More than 200 pictures can be made available for civilian requests per day.


The first 1900 kg heavy COSMO- Skymed satellite COSMO 1 with the NORAD ID 31598 brought a Delta 7420 -10C rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base out on 8 June 2007 into space. The second satellite COSMO 2 launched on December 9, also with a Delta - 7420 -10C from Vandenberg and the third satellite COSMO 3 on 25 October 2008. COSMO 4, the fourth and final COSMO- SkyMed satellite, was on November 6 2010 brought from Vandenberg Air Force Base Space Launch Complex 2 West with a Delta 7420-10 rocket into a sun-synchronous orbit.


The Italian company e - Geos Earth Observation Satellite Services Company, a subsidiary of Telespazio ( 80%) and ASI, marketed the radar images. It is also the intermediary for recording optical satellite GeoEye -1, IKONOS, QuickBird, WorldView-1 and WorldView -2.

Cosmo Skymed is funded by the Italian Ministry of Research and Defense.