Arianespace Vega to launch Italian Earth-observation spacecraft in 2018

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WASHINGTON — European launch provider Arianespace will launch a remote-sensing satellite for the Italian Space Agency (ASI)  in mid-2018 using the Italian-made Vega rocket, Arianespace announced June 19.

OHB Italia, manufacturer of the Precursore Iperspettrale della Missione Applicativa, or PRISMA satellite, signed the launch contract on behalf of ASI. Arianespace will launch the satellite into a 615-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit.

PRISMA is a 900-kilogram satellite with a hyperspectral sensor and a medium-resolution panchromatic camera. OHB Italia used a spacecraft bus from Rome-based Leonardo Airborne and Space Systems.

PRISMA’s instrument combination enables observation of physical and chemical characteristics. ASI intends to use the satellite for monitoring natural resources, agriculture, pollution and climate change.