The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA], through its commercial launch business, successfully launched the first of four Italian Constellation of Small Satellites for Mediterranean basin Observation (COSMO) SkyMed spacecraft June 7 aboard a Delta II rocket.
Lift-off occurred at 7:34 p.m. Pacific time from Pad SLC-2W at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. A Delta II 7420-10 configuration launch vehicle deployed the COSMO-SkyMed spacecraft to low-Earth orbit approximately 58 minutes after liftoff.
„We are pleased to provide launch services for Thales Alenia Space Italia, the Italian Space Agency and the Italian Ministry of Defense,“ said Brewster Shaw, vice president and general manager, Boeing Space Exploration. „Congratulations to the COSMO-SkyMed launch team on a job well done. Boeing is honored by the opportunity to be a part of this exciting mission with the successful lift into space provided by the United Launch Alliance Delta II, a vehicle with a long Boeing history.“
The COSMO-SkyMed launch is the first Boeing commercial Delta II launch since Feb. 11, 2002, when Boeing launched five Iridium satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Thales Alenia Space Italia, which provides Delta II tanks to Boeing, developed the COSMO-SkyMed program for the Italian Space Agency and the Italian Ministry of Defence. It is an end-to-end Earth observation dual-use (civil and military) system composed of four medium-sized satellites and supporting ground stations for orbit control systems and data reception and processing. The system will take imagery of the Earth using an X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar instrument capable of operating in all visibility conditions at the request of institutional and commercial users, including members of the civil, scientific and military communities.