Civic monitoring report

Sent on 26/03/2024 | By Davide Bruga | @

What we found out

Project objectives

The NOCTUA project (LANDSCAPE MONITORING. FOR EVERYONE. FROM SPACE), led by D-Orbit, aims to launch a satellite that monitors urban areas, cultural sites, and natural resources with a high-performance, cost-effective satellite system, bridging accessibility to local administrations and private entities. This Space Segment Development Initiative embarks on a mission to craft a robust, high-performance, and cost-effective system by integrating a satellite platform with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) technology. Prioritizing reliability and cost-effectiveness, the initiative signifies a commitment to innovation, positioning itself as a frontrunner in the realm of space technology. 

Foreseen activities

The specific goal of the project is to enable private and governmental organizations to assess the conditions of existing infrastructures over time from space, evaluate sites for the construction of new infrastructures, identify irregularities with respect to urban planning, detect the movement of land and glaciers, prevent and manage natural emergencies, and much more. The NOCTUA satellite is scheduled to be launched in late 2025 from the United States, using several satellite launch bases. However, the company has faced bureaucratic hurdles, such as the complexity in collecting and renewing anti-mafia declarations annually.

Project origin

The impetus for the alliance of competencies from which NOCTUA originates is the Lombardy Region's "Call Hub Research and Innovation" call for proposals financed with POR FESR 2014-2020 funds, which called for the creation of partnerships between research institutions, small and large companies.
NOCTUA is one of 33 innovative projects of excellence that won the call: hence the contribution of nearly 5 million euros, out of a total project value of more than 9.2 million. The idea was to develop a new commercial service through two main actions: the design of an ad hoc mini satellite equipped with a synthetic aperture radar (SAR), and the implementation of a platform for processing and interpretation from the data collected by the satellite based on Cloud technology.
The main parties within this grand scheme are: D-orbit S.p.a, Beta 80 S.p.a, TREA LTAMIRA S.r.l, European Center for Training and Research in Earthquake Engineering EUCENTRE Foundation, Radar Sensing S.r.l, and the IUSS Pavia Higher University School.


The NOCTUA project brings multiple benefits for everyone residing in Lombardy. Using this satellite, organizations and companies can prevent disasters occurring not only from natural reasons by predicting weather and analyzing terrain, but also those caused by unmonitored and unsupervised infrastructures. Economic viability and benefits are also granted by the launch of this satellite.


NOCTUA is one of 33 innovative projects that won the Lombardy Region's 'Call hub innovation and research' (POR FESR 2014-2020 funds). The project aims to meet what has become a necessity: the protection of the environment and health. The Lombardy territory is rich in infrastructure and natural elements such as lakes, rivers, glaciers and mountain slopes. Thanks to satellite monitoring, which will take place almost in real time, it will be possible to prevent or mitigate damage resulting from structural failure or natural disasters. Directly linked to the first is the project's second aim, which is to maximise the usability of the data collected. These will in fact also be accessible to private citizens, companies and research centres.


At the moment the progress of the project is 60% (€2,999,743.79 - monitored payments - of which cohesion resources €2,999,743.79).
Sources: Open Cohesion website.


The project, currently under development, has already raised over €4,900,000 in funding in just 30 months. Furthermore, according to the official website of the company responsible for managing the project, D-Orbit, the technology used has been carefully refined and refined through a series of tests. This means that our investment is backed by a solid, proven technological base. In line with plans, the satellite is scheduled to be launched at the end of 2025.


Considering the project's current status, we do not feel the need to emphasize any weaknesses. Undoubtedly, there are parts that pose greater challenges than others, requiring more organization and effort, but none of the potential difficulties encountered are attributed to the monitoring itself. However, albeit briefly, slight delays in communication have been noted, which nevertheless have not excessively hindered the project's progress. Additionally, personally, it has not always been immediately straightforward to find the right information. Furthermore, we firmly believe in the project and its potential, which we believe should be more extensively promoted by renewing published articles and increasing our presence on social media platforms.


There are multiple positive aspects in the realization of the NOCTUA project. The first positive aspect is without a doubt the idea itself: a medium sized satellite that manages to precisely capture images and data with incredible accuracy from outer space to help society in every possible way. The fact that NOCTUA attempts to link space and daily life is another important positive factor that we took into consideration, as the lives of every single person residing in Lombardy, the area monitored by NOCTUA, will improve in numerous aspects. Lastly, we admire the passion and the dedication which the D-Orbit team put into this project, giving our team, STARSCAPE, the opportunity to look up to them and follow their footsteps.


The Noctua project faces a series of challenges that could jeopardize its effectiveness in environmental monitoring. Among the main concerns is the obstacle posed by adverse weather conditions, such as storms or dense clouds, which could interfere with data collection. Additionally, the presence of space debris could cause damage to the satellite and compromise monitoring operations.
Moreover, the operational context of the project could prove complex due to the increasing commercialization of space, which could raise issues regarding access to and utilization of space resources. Bureaucracy could become a limiting factor, with regulations that could slow down the development and implementation of innovative space technologies. It is essential to address these challenges with a flexible and resilient strategy, ensuring that the Noctua project can continue to play a crucial role in protecting and safeguarding our planet.

Ideas and solutions

To increase the effectiveness of the monitored project, various approaches can be considered. Before the satellite is launched, greater publicity of the project could raise awareness and engagement among stakeholders. Once the satellite is in orbit, implementing complementary platforms to leverage the collected data, in addition to the platform provided by D-Orbit, could simplify the data utilization and analysis. This could include creating user-friendly and advanced analysis tools, such as interactive dashboards or mobile applications. Furthermore, commercializing spatial data could be an opportunity to generate additional revenue, allowing users to purchase and utilize the data for a variety of purposes, such as geospatial analysis, urban planning, or environmental monitoring.

Results and Impact of the monitoring

Dissemination of results

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Media interviews



Contacts with media outlets

  • Local newspapers

Contatti con le Pubbliche Amministrazioni per discutere i risultati del Monitoraggio

We did not reach out to public administration

Investigation method

How was the information collected?

  • Web research
  • Interview with the Managing Authority of the Programme which financed the project
  • Interview with other types of people

- Ing. Stefano Antonetti VP Business Development - D-Orbit , società capofila del progetto
- Dott.ssa Manuela Puritani Head of Center of Expertise - D-Orbit , società capofila del progetto

Main questions

The main questions raised during the meeting with D-Orbit concerned two fundamental aspects. First, it was asked how the NOCTUA project differed from other existing satellite projects on the market. Secondly, it was examined whether there was a possibility of involvement on the part of the large space agencies and what practical consequences this might entail in the context of the project.

Main answers

In response, it was emphasised that NOCTUA introduces an innovative element by offering access to space data also to private individuals, an opportunity previously unavailable. In response to the second question, it was explained that, as discussed, large space agencies such as NASA or SpaceX will not take action against projects such as NOCTUA. This is because they themselves aim for greater private sector involvement in commercial space, recognising the importance of such development. Therefore, NOCTUA's approach reflects a broader trend towards the privatisation of space and wider access to space data for a variety of actors, including private individuals.