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10-Dec-07 | Delta flight 330 – COSMO-SkyMed 2

On the evening of Saturday, 08 December 2007, a two-stage Delta II Med-Lite launched the second in a constellation of Italian radar satellites known as COSMO-SkyMed. The launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base’s SLC-2W occurred at an official range liftoff time of 18:31:42.118 PST (02:31:42.118 GMT on 09 December).

At 58 minutes 4 seconds after launch, the satellite was deployed into a near-circular polar orbit. When it becomes operational, COSMO-SkyMed 2 will join its siblings in providing environmental monitoring, resource management and territorial surveillance for the Italian Space Agency and the Italian Ministry of Defence. COSMO is an acronym meaning “COnstellation of small Satellites for the Mediterranean basin Observation”, intriguingly not an Italian phrase. (No word on the meaning of SkyMed, which this author suspects is the IMoD name for the constellation.)

Delta II continued its longest-ever success record with this flight, the 78th in a row. As usual, Spaceflight Now’s Justin Ray provided an excellent play-by-play here.

Amidst the excitement of a successful deployment, it was announced that COSMO 3 will launch aboard another Delta II in the second half of 2008. The launcher for the fourth satellite in the constellation has not yet been chosen—several competitors are vying for the contract.

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