An all-Italian high-tech space platform

25 June 2020

The production of a high-tech mini space platform, designed to perform a wide range of applications and which is perfectly compatible to be launched with the Italian Vega, has achieved an important milestone. The commercial agreement that regulates the PLATiNO Programme was recently signed by Sitael (leading the temporary consortium), Leonardo, Thales Alenia Space Italia and Airbus, in the presence of the Undersecretary to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Riccardo Fraccaro, and the President of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) Giorgio Saccoccia.

With over €100 million investment from ASI and the Italian government, the programme will see the development of two missions for the launch of the PLATiNO satellites, planned in 2022 and 2023. PLATiNO 1 will include the use of a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) operating in the X band, while PLATiNO 2 will use an observation infrared instrument.

Not only does PLATiNO represent a new opportunity to demonstrate the advanced skills of the Italian space industry, but it also allows industries to operate in synergy, encouraging greater collaboration with and between small and medium-sized companies in the sector. Furthermore, this programme strengthens Italy’s international leadership in a strategic area such as that of the Space Economy.

For Leonardo and its joint venture Thales Alenia Space (Thales - Leonardo), PLATiNO represents another important landmark, demonstrating once again the technological skills developed over the years in the main national and international missions such as the COSMO-SkyMed and Copernicus programmes.

Leonardo and Thales Alenia Space play a key role with responsibility for the satellite and core elements of PLATiNO 1, using state-of-the-art technologies which fully meet the significant challenge that PLATiNO represents for the Italian space system.

For the platform, Leonardo will supply on-board equipment such as solar panels that will ensure the energy generation necessary for the operation of the small satellite and the star trackers (SpaceStar) for the correct orbit positioning.

For PLATiNO 2, Leonardo is jointly responsible with SITAEL (prime contractor of this mission), to develop the main Thermal InfraRed (TIR) instrument, an advanced camera that will capture infrared images – temperature maps –  of our planet, monitoring its health and climate changes.

In the clean rooms of Thales Alenia Space, the platform avionics and communication subsystems are in production, as well as the innovative SAR instrument for the PLATiNO 1 mission. This X-band radar instrument will ensure accurate and continuous monitoring of our planet, 24 hours a day, regardless of weather conditions.