The Italian Ministry of Defence’s OPTSAT-3000 satellite has been successfully launched at 1.58 UTC. The launch has been performed by Arianespace from the Kourou European spaceport in the French Guyana, with a VEGA European launcher, produced by AVIO. The satellite separated from the upper stage of the launcher 42 minutes after the launch, and the first telemetry signal has been acquired approximately 5 hours after. The whole system is supplied by Leonardo through Telespazio (Leonardo 67%, Thales 33%). As prime contractor, Telespazio leads an international group of companies including, among others, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), which built the satellite within an international co-operation agreement between Italy and Israel as well as OHB Italia, responsible for the launch services. Alessandro Profumo, CEO of Leonardo, commented: “With the launch of OPTSAT-3000, Italy has acquired an asset capable of significantly improving the country’s defence and protection capabilities. We are proud to have contributed to the achievement of this important target, bringing to bear our outstanding capabilities and technologies in a leadership role on a strategic national security programme. With OPTSAT-3000, Leonardo continues to be a major player in international space projects”. OPTSAT-3000 consists of a satellite in a sun-synchronous LEO (Low Earth Orbit) orbit and of a Ground Segment for in-orbit control and for data acquisition and processing. OPTSAT-3000 will provide highresolution images of any part of the globe, providing Italy with an autonomous national capability of Earth observation from space with a high-resolution optical sensor. After the successful launch, system check and test activities have now started; the system will then be entirely managed by the Italian ground segment, located over three operation centres: the Joint Satellite Remote Survey Centre (CITS – Centro Interforze di Telerilevamento Satellitare) in Pratica di Mare (Roma), the SICRAL Joint Management and Control Centre (CIGC - Centro Interforze di Gestione e Controllo) in Vigna di Valle (Rome) and the Fucino (L’Aquila) Space Centre of Telespazio. OPTSAT-3000 will jointly operate with the second-generation COSMO-SkyMed system of radar satellites – which has also been developed by Italian industry, with Leonardo and its joint ventures, Thales Alenia Space (Thales 67%, Leonardo 33%) and Telespazio – integrating optical and radar data to provide the Italian Ministry of Defence with information characterised by extreme accuracy, resolution and completeness and with state-of-the-art analysis and operational tools.