Lecture start at 14:00
By Roberto SOMMA, Member of the Executive Secretariat of CESMA (Center for Aeronautical Military Studies “Giulio Douhet”), Member of the Air and Space Academy
The development of Space Based Radar’s was started in USA during the 60’s and the first satellites with a radar payload were brought in orbit during the ‘70’s, being Seasat (1978) the first operational mission. In Europe MRSE (Microwave Remote Sensing Experiment), a German payload for the first Spacelab flight in 1983, was the first attempt to place a radar instrument in space. Its development was started at the end of 70’s, when also ESA was kicking-off its Remote Sensing Preparatory Program (RSPP) and some other European Countries, in particular France and Italy as well as Germany, were defining their independent remote sensing strategies and starting the first studies and the key technologies development. A solid competence on radar systems and a proven experience on space technologies were the enabling industrial factors requested both to support a sound national space program and, even more, to compete for the acquisition of first level roles in the frame of ESA programs, starting from the acquisition of the initial studies included in the RSPP. A limited number of European countries had in house suitable industries. Among them, in particular, the governments of France, Germany and Italy decided to start their own national programs and to participate to ESA programs with a level of contribution suitable for good industrial roles. The above three countries followed sometimes a convergent and in other cases a diversified approach in terms of either missions/instruments priorities or program scenarios/partnerships. Of course, mainly in ESA programs, industries of other countries contributed to the implementation of the programs as well.
All the above led to the development of radar instruments for a wide variety of remote sensing applications bringing Europe among the worldwide leaders both at system and technology levels.