From its orbit, at an altitude of about 620 kilometres, PRISMA satellite observes the Earth on a global scale with different eyes, being equipped with innovative electro-optical instrumentation. The Italian satellite will look at the planet with the most powerful operative hyperspectral instrument in the world, able to work in numerous, narrow and contiguous bands arranged from the visible to the near infrared (VNIR, Visible and Near InfraRed) and up to the infrared shortwave (SWIR, Short Wave InfraRed).
PRISMA was developed by a Temporary Joint Venture of companies, led by OHB Italia, responsible for the mission and management of the three main segments (ground, flight and launch) and Leonardo, which built the electro-optical hyperspectral instrumentation in addition to on-board equipment such as solar panels and power supply unit.
PRISMA was launched on March 22, 2019, by Arianespace, on board a VEGA carrier, designed and conceived by AVIO, that took off from the European space base in Kourou (French Guiana).
For the PRISMA programme Telespazio set up the Ground Segment, and managed the LEOP phase, that runs from when the satellite separates from the carrier, until it reaches its final orbit position, as well as in-orbit testing. The Ground Segment includes the mission control centre, which is located at the Fucino Space Centre, and the data acquisition, processing, and distribution centre in Matera.
The mission will be able to offer an unprecedented contribution to the observation of natural resources from space and to the study of main environmental processes (e.g. interactions between atmosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere; observation of environmental and climate change on a global level; and the effects of man’s activities on ecosystems).
At an application level, PRISMA will be able to provide precious information to support prevention of natural hazards (such as hydrogeological) and anthropic (including soil pollution), monitoring of cultural heritage, aid actions to humanitarian crises, agricultural activities and exploitation of mineral resources.