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About COSMO-SkyMed

COSMO-SkyMed (CSK) is an Italian Earth-imaging constellation consisting of four identical satellites which launched between 2007 and 2010. CSK-1, CSK-2 and CSK-4 remain operational.

COSMO-SkyMed stands for 'COnstellation of small Satellites for the Mediterranean basin Observation'. The mission is owned and operated by ASI (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana) and is funded by the Italian Ministry of Research and the Italian Ministry of Defense.

COSMO-SkyMed Mission Parameters
Launch DatesCOSMO 1: 8 June 2007
COSMO 2: 9 December 2007
COSMO 3: 25 October 2008
COSMO 4: 6 November 2010
Orbit Height619.6 km
Orbit TypeCircular Sun-synchronous dawn-dusk
Local Equator Crossing Time6:00 AM at ascending node
Orbit Inclination97.86°
Orbit Period97.1 minutes
Repeat Cycle16 days
Revisit Capability
  • Each single satellite has a near revisit time of five days
  • The nominal full constellation achieves a revisit time of
    a few hours on a global scale (with a varying incidence angle)

COSMO-SkyMed is part of ESA's Third Party Missions Programme, in which ESA has an agreement with ASI to distribute data products from the mission.

COSMO-SkyMed Objectives

The COSMO-SkyMed objectives are to provide global Earth observation that can be repeated several times a day in all-weather conditions. The imagery obtained can be applied to both military and civil needs, providing defence and security assurance in Italy and other countries, seismic hazard analysis, environmental disaster monitoring and agricultural mapping.

COSMO-SkyMed Instruments

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR-2000)

COSMO-SkyMed carries SAR-2000 on all four satellites. SAR-2000 is a multi-mode instrument, a programmable system providing different performance characteristics in terms of swath size, spatial resolution, and polarisation configurations. The SAR transmitter/receiver system operates through an electrically steerable multi-beam antenna which concentrates the transmitted energy into narrow beams in the cross-track direction while the characteristics of the transmitted pulses and the echo signal determine the spatial resolution and coverage.

The highest-resolution mode of image collected is released only to the military with two lower resolution modes more generally available.

SAR-2000 Instrument Parameters
TypeSynthetic Aperture Radar
Sensor Modes
  • Spotlight - a high-resolution mode collected over a small area by steering the radar beam slightly fore-to-aft during the collection period
  • Stripmap - a medium-resolution mode collected over long, continuous swaths in which the beam is pointed broadside to the satellite track
  • ScanSAR - a low-resolution mode that creates extra-wide swaths by collecting short segments at different ranges and then mosaicking them together

All modes use one polarization selectable among HH, VV, HV, or VH apart from Stripmap PING PONG with two polarizations selectable among HH, VV, HV, or VH

  • Spotlight - 1 m
  • Stripmap HIMAGE- 3 m
  • Stripmap PING PONG - 15 m
  • ScanSAR Wide - 30 m 
  • ScanSAR Huge- 100 m
Swath Width
  • Spotlight - 10 km
  • Stripmap HIMAGE- 40 km
  • Stripmap PING PONG - 30 km
  • ScanSAR Wide - 100 km 
  • ScanSAR Huge- 200 km
Field of Regards600 km, either right or left
BandX-band, 9.6 GHz

COSMO-SkyMed Data


For scientific research and application development (both archived and new acquisitions), the following COSMO-SkyMed data are available for free following the approval of a project proposal. ESA will support as many high-quality and innovative projects as possible within the quota limit available, therefore only a limited amount of products can be made available to each project.

ESA is offering registered users, upon submission and acceptance of a Data Service Request, access through the Online Dissemination server to the following data collection:


A number of tools are available for visualising, processing and analysing COSMO-SkyMed data.


PolSARpro (Polarimetric SAR data Processing and Education) supports the scientific exploitation of polarimetric SAR data and is a tool for high-level education in radar polarimetry.



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