Italy’s PRISMA Earth observation satellite will launch aboard Arianespace’s Vega rocket Thursday. Vega is due to lift off from its launch pad at the Centre Spatial Guyanais in Kourou, French Guiana, at 22:50:35 local time (01:50 UTC on Friday).
PRISMA, or Precursore Iperspettrale della Missione Applicativa, is a small hyperspectral imaging satellite that has been constructed by OHB Italia and will be operated by the Italian Space Agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI). The satellite, whose name translates into English as “hyperspectral precursor of the application mission”, is intended to demonstrate the small satellite platform and its imaging payload, while also performing imaging that is useful in its own right.
The PRISMA mission grew out of the Hyperspectral Satellite for Earth Observation (HypSEO) project which was canceled in the early 2000s. While the satellite is intended to serve as a prototype for future missions, it has been designed with the needs of Italy’s scientific community in mind. PRISMA’s images will help scientists to study the environment and aid with the monitoring of land use, natural resources, water pollution, soil mixtures and the carbon cycle.
PRISMA’s eponymous sensor compliment was developed by Leonardo SpA, and incorporates a hyperspectral imager which operates across ...