The Arctic region is undergoing profound climate change, offering new opportunities for development and exploitation of resources while posing risks for the natural and human environment. The withdrawal of ice, in fact, is followed by a growth in economic activities, leading to the transformation of the region into a theatre of international cooperation in the economic, maritime and transport sectors, as well as by increasing security requirements linked to the exploitation of resources, with a strong focus on interaction with the environment and the prevention of accidents.
Italian’s satellite technology is already successfully employed in the Arctic region, where e-GEOS – joint venture between Telespazio (80%) and the Italian Space Agency (20%) – has developed partnerships in Scandinavia, thanks to which two stations for data reception from the Italian COSMO-SkyMed constellation are now operative.
The COSMO-SkyMed radar satellites, of the Italian Space Agency and Ministry of Defence – the instrument of choice for observing and monitoring such remote regions, wide-ranging as well as difficult from the meteorological point of view – are able to support sustainable development of the Arctic, by enabling monitoring and control of human as well as natural activities.
In the 2011-2014 period, e-GEOS has provided more than three thousand COSMO-SkyMed images, covering approximately 100 million square kilometres of the Arctic region. Furthermore, until 2020 e-GEOS is expected to provide to the Copernicus European programme – in which Leonardo plays a significant industrial role – an additional six thousand satellite images covering approximately 190 million square kilometres in the region.