The launch will be carried out by a Vega rocket in 2018 from the Guiana Space Center, within the scope of a contract signed by OHB Italia Spa on behalf of the Italian Space Agency ASI. PRISMA is an Earth Observation (EO) satellite fitted with an innovative electro-optical instrument, combining a hyperspectral sensor with a medium-resolution panchromatic camera. This type of combined instrument offers the advantages of conventional observation, based on the recognition of the geometric characteristics of a scene, coupled with the ability to determine the chemical and physical characteristics of the objects present in the scene, using the hyperspectral sensors.
The scientific community and other users will be able to employ these capabilities for a number of applications, including environmental monitoring, resources management, identification and classification of crops, the fight against pollution, etc. Other applications are also possible, including homeland security.
Built by OHB Italia on a dedicated platform hosting the Payload supplied by Leonardo Airborne and Space Systems, the PRISMA satellite will be placed into a Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 615 kilometers. It will weigh approximately 900 kilograms at launch. The Vega launch vehicle, in which Italy is playing a leading role, has been selected for PRISMA mission by the Italian Space Agency ASI.
Following the contract signature, Arianespace Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Israël stated that his company is extremely proud to continue the firm's ongoing support for the European space industry through this EO mission that will provide major applications to protect the planet and national security. This contract also confirms the success of the Vega lightweight launcher, which continues to set the standard in its class, launch after launch.