Domenico Iacovone, who has been at e-GEOS (a company that is 80% owned by Telespazio and 20% by ASI - the Italian Space Agency) since 2008, works at the Matera Space Centre operationally coordinating the team working on ground segment maintenance for the PRISMA (PRecursore IperSpettrale della Missione Applicativa) and SAOCOM (Satélite Argentino de Observación Con Microondas) missions, as well as the ASI’s SDO (Space Debris Observatory) monitoring system. This latter activity in particular, he explains, “involves monitoring the debris that moves in space in order to calculate its precise orbit and anticipate its possible return to the Earth's surface.” Space debris is now a major threat to space infrastructures and the planet itself, and must be kept precisely and continuously under observation. This is an essential service for a wealth of applications that we all rely on in our everyday lives, including meteorology, communications and the global transport of goods and passengers.
Domenico has already been involved in projects at international level with teams in various European countries. These include activities carried out for the Sentinel satellite missions developed by ESA (European Space Agency) as part of the Copernicus Earth observation programme. “I had the opportunity to work in an environment with people from different backgrounds who belonged to various industrial organisations involved in the missions. The dynamic nature of our work presents us every day with new challenges and stimulating interactions with different players like the ASI, the ESA and other national and international industrial organisations involved in the different programmes.”
Having always been passionate about new technologies, Domenico had the chance “to invest time in pursuing this passion at university and later in the working context by joining the Leonardo Group. We work every day on systems that bring us into contact with new technologies, ensuring that our professional skills are constantly kept up to date. Finally, activities are managed through constantly updated business processes to ensure an effective and efficient organisation.” But, he is keen to emphasise, “the most important thing for me is our work to protect the environment and safeguard our planet.”
One of Domenico's main sources of pride is undoubtedly that of having contributed to the development of the AS-M&C (Antenna System Monitoring & Control), which “is the tool that serves the operations and maintenance team currently working at the Matera Space Centre.” The centre is adjacent to the ASI's Space Geodesy Centre, and together they form the Basilicata space hub for Earth observation and space geodesy. It is from here that the antennas and infrastructure needed to acquire, process, store and disseminate remote sensing data from the main Earth observation satellites (COSMO-SkyMed and Sentinel) and the most important commercial missions are operated:
“at the Matera Space Centre we’re involved in multi-mission acquisition services on a daily basis. The diversity of the systems controlled is a distinctive aspect of our centre, owing to the variety of acquisition services that have to be provided on behalf of the respective organisations that request them”.
In recent months Domenico and his colleagues have been involved in activities connected to T-DROMES, an innovative solution developed by Telespazio to manage fleets and missions of remotely piloted aircraft that enables drones to be used with a scalable approach, in complex operations and in different application settings. The platform, for example - through the use of drones - acquires “images that are then correlated with those from satellites to provide an additional service to individual farmers, who are thus able to identify which weeds need to be removed from their harvests”, Domenico says. T-DROMES has been successfully trialled in the biomedical transport sector in test flights carried out jointly by Leonardo, the Bambino Gesù children's hospital and ENAC.