The Angry UFOlogist

LIVE LAUNCH: Arianespace Flight VV10 / OPTSAT-3000 and Venµs

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Launch Scheduled for 09:58:33 p.m., ET / 01:58:33 Universal Time (UTC) / 02:58:33 UK


For its eighth launch of the year, and the 10th Vega mission since this launcher began its career at the Guiana Space Center in 2012,
Arianespace will orbit OPTSAT-3000 and Venµs - two Earth
observation satellites for civil and military applications.
This marks the seventh Earth observation mission for Vega, a light
launcher now in full commercial operation, whose versatility has
been largely proven during its nine previous missions - all successful.

OPTSAT-3000 is an Earth observation program for the Italian Ministry of Defense. It comprises a highresolution
optical satellite and a ground segment for in-orbit control, mission planning and the
acquisition and processing of images.
OPTSAT-3000 will allow national defense entities to acquire and use high-resolution images from any part of the globe.
The OPTSAT-3000 system is supplied by the prime contractor Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%). Telespazio is responsible for the entire system, including the satellite, ground segment, launch and early orbital operations, preparation and execution of operations and logistics, in-orbit tests and commissioning.
The satellite and ground control systems were built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), chosen by the Italian Ministry of Defense on the basis of an inter-governmental agreement between Italy and Israel. OHB Italia is responsible for the launch services and related engineering support.
The OPTSAT-3000 system will be inter-operable with Italy’s second-generation COSMO-SkyMed radar satellites. This will give the Italian Defense Ministry access to state-of-the-art technology, and ensure maximum operational capabilities because of the combined optical and radar data offered by the
two systems.

Venμs is an earth observation and exploratory mission of the Israel Space Agency (ISA) – a government
body sponsored by the country’s Ministry of Science & Technology – and the French CNES space agency
(Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales).
The satellite has a twofold objective:
1. Scientific: Frequent revisits (up to two days) of scientific sites spread worldwide for the study and
evolution of vegetation, and for environmental purposes.
2. Technological: In-flight qualification of the Israeli Electrical Propulsion System.
While the satellite’s designation may sound like the name of a planet, it actually is the acronym for:
Vegetation and Environment monitoring on a New Micro Satellite.
Venμs is equipped with a multi-spectral camera that can capture important details, some of them
are not visible to the human eye. The camera operates in 12 wavelengths that work simultaneously.
It takes 12 simultaneous images of the same location - each in different spectral bands, including
those in the near-infrared range. These separate images are processed into one very precise complete
color photograph.
The satellite will image vast areas around the globe and provide dozens of images every day, each
of them covering approximately 760 square kilometers. Venμs will fly in a Sun-synchronous, nearpolar
orbit – which enables its return to view each area around the world, exactly at the same time
and under the same imagery conditions.
By analyzing and comparing the images taken from the same location, researchers will be able to
assess the state of the soil, understand how vegetation is developing, and detect the spreading of
disease or contamination in the field.

The technological payload of Venμs comprises a unique electric propulsion system, which is based on
Hall-Effect thrusters. Such an electrical propulsion system allows for minimizing the mass of
hydrazine chemical propellant while achieving flexible orbital maneuvers that can be affected
online, considerably extending the lifetime. In order to reduce the mission's risk, Venμs is also
equipped with a redundant common chemical propulsion system.
The satellite's overall size is only 1.7 X 1.2 meters, with a wingspan of 4.4 meters when the solar
array is extended.
CNES is in charge of the multi-spectral instrument (camera), the image processing and the image
distribution ground station. Elbit Electro-Optic Systems, Elop Ltd. developed the camera for CNES.

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