On May 18, at midday, in the Government House, the Minister of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation, Dr. Lino Barañao, in his capacity as President of the Board of Directors of the Argentine National Space Activities Commission (CONAE, in Spanish) signed a Letter of Intent together with the President of the Italian Space Agency (ASI, in Italian), Prof. Roberto Battiston.
The letter expresses an interest, on the part of the CONAE and the ASI, in encouraging and strengthening their bilateral cooperation as regards science, research and space technology for peaceful purposes, and particularly in those areas related to emergency prevention and management. The Executive and Technical Director of the CONAE, Dr. Conrado Varotto, and the Secretary of Scientific and Technological Interaction of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation, Lic. Agustín Campero, were also present when the document was signed. It will mark the beginning of a new stage of the Italian-Argentine System of Satellites for Emergency Management, which will be referred to as SIASGE II.
In that regard, Dr. Barañao expressed that “it is a great a satisfaction to us being able to contribute to the relation between both countries. This is a truly remarkable field of studies with history, and we believe that it will achieve not only a scientific, but also a high economic impact.” Likewise, the Minister said that the aim “is to coordinate the whole space activity area in order to develop the satellite market as well as the satellite services and industry. There are not many countries able to build and operate satellites as Argentina does.”
In his turn, Prof. Battiston said: “This will be the biggest constellation of satellites and radars in the world. The challenge is to turn all the data provided into wealth.”
The emergency management is a top priority for Argentina and Italy, thus, it encouraged the creation of the Italian-Argentine System of Satellites for Emergency Management (SIASGE, in Spanish), and both countries agreed to jointly put into operation their earth observation satellites: the two Argentine SAOCOM 1A and SAOCOM 1B satellites, equipped with L-band radars, and the four Italian COSMO-SkyMed satellites, with X-band radars. The six satellites working together complement each other and increase the applications to provide remote sensing products and services through Synthetic Aperture Radars (SAR) operating in both bands (L+X). They are especially suited to follow up floods and to know soil moisture values, among many other advantages related to socioeconomic activities and the protection of the environment. The COSMO-SkyMed satellites are already in orbit and the SIASGE will be fully implemented with the arrival of the SAOCOM 1A and SAOCOM 1B satellites in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
It is important to highlight that while developing the satellites of the SIASGE, the work experience has been excellent at technical and cooperative levels. Thus, it contributes to the beginning of a new stage of the Italian-Argentine System of Satellites for Emergency Management, SIASGE II, which involves the integration of the second generation of Italian Cosmo SkyMed satellites and the second generation of Argentine radar satellites, SAOCOM 2.