D-Orbit, a space logistics and orbital transportation company, has signed a 26 million euros contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for IRIDE, a space-based observation program initiated by the Italian government.
The program will leverage national competencies and responsibility with the support of the ESA, which will manage the project, and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) under the framework of Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR).
According to the contract, D-Orbit will provide one SAR (synthetic aperture radar) satellite and will manage its flight operations segment on behalf of the end-user; the deal also includes an option for an additional SAR satellite, worth 24 million euros.
The SAR sensor will be implemented by MetaSensing, an Italian company specializing in advanced radar technologies.
The IRIDE program will consist of a satellite constellation, ground operational infrastructure, and services for the Italian public administration.
The satellite constellation, which will be launched between 2025 and 2026, will use various detection techniques and technologies, including microwave and optical imaging in different frequencies, and will provide data for applications in commercial startups, SMEs, and industry.
“We are proud of this contract which perfectly fits into our Satellite as a Service line of business,” said Stefano Antonetti, D-Orbit VP Business Development and Institutional Sales. “Since inception, our successful partnerships with esteemed organizations like the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency have paved the way for our company’s growth, allowing us to participate in cutting-edge research and development initiatives while making a significant social impact.”
“The IRIDE project represents a great achievement for MetaSensing and a key step for the StarSAR-X, our high-performance X-band radar system,” said Adriano Meta, CEO and founder of MetaSensing, “and we are proud to provide our contribution to such a large and performant Italian constellation.”
IRIDE will support the Italian Civil Protection and other organizations in monitoring critical infrastructure, air quality, and meteorological conditions.
The PNRR has allocated about 2 billion euros to the space economy as part of its Digitalization Mission.