Vega VV01 Arianespace
The Italian Space Agency, happy to rely on an Italian-made rocket, is launching an Earth-observation satellite on a Vega launcher in 2018. Credit: ESA

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.

Caleb Henry is a former SpaceNews staff writer covering satellites, telecom and launch. He previously worked for Via Satellite and NewSpace Global.He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science along with a minor in astronomy from...