Space: March 20, 2001


Italy and France have agreed to a plan to jointly develop and operate new satellites with an optical and radar capability that will vastly improve Europe's civilian Earth-observation and military intelligence capabilities. The new satellites will use the Italian Cosmos-Skymed X-band radar or the French Pleiades optical system. There will be four radar satellites, offering 1m resolution on 10x10 kilometer images and 100m resolution on a 300x400 kilometer image. The two Pleiades satellites will provide resolution of 0.8 meters on images 20 kilometers square. The satellites will be launched in 2003-2005.--Stephen V Cole


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