June 3, 2023

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Italy in space with Pnrr

Italy in space with Pnrr

Buyer task. “The European satellite, with a lot of Italian technology that will be launched towards the largest planet in our solar system, will leave Europe on January 20, the destination Peru, where it will be launched at the end of April. It will reach Jupiter in 2030 and will focus primarily on Ganymede and possibly Callisto, Jupiter’s largest natural satellite. The mission, JOS, has several goals: to discover hidden oceans and find subterranean bodies of water, to map the surfaces of moons, to study what the moons are made of, and to analyze their rarefied atmospheres. Exploring Jupiter and its icy moons is important because, in addition to being a major part of our solar system, it will help us learn more about worlds orbiting other stars. Thousands of exoplanets have already been discovered, and there are countless more waiting to be found. Many of these distant worlds are gas giants like Jupiter. They are too far away to send space probes, but we will be able to make correct hypotheses about their nature by studying Jupiter and alien life can be searched on non-Earth-like planets.

The European Space Agency, the European Space Agency, is already planning future exploration of the outer solar system. Moreover, ESA and NASA are studying a possible joint mission targeting the icy giant planets: Uranus and Neptune »: Giorgio Saccoccia, 60, with a degree in aerospace engineering, has been the head of ASI, the space agency since It’s 2019 in Italy, and it announces plans for the new (and upcoming) year. “The challenge of 2023 awaits us – he says – also because space has returned to the forefront, to the extent that global regulation will be appropriate, so far only astronauts have gone into space, if ordinary travelers arrive now and space becomes crowded, it will be necessary to find common bases ».

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Crowded space? It sure looks like this: In February, the Indian agency should carry three astronauts into orbit for seven days, and in March it will be the turn of SpaceX’s Polaris Dawn rover, which will fly for five days with a crew made entirely of private citizens. . Maybe the first commercial spacewalk (700km from Earth) takes place, in April it will be Juice’s turn (to Jupiter), it will be followed by a new SpaceX flight and Virgin Galactic’s first suborbital flight which promises kind of a low cost, so to speak, price The ticket is 450 thousand dollars.

In the summer, ESA and ASI will co-launch Euclid, a space telescope to study distant galaxies, matter phenomena, and dark energies. NASA will then launch the Psyche probe toward the asteroid of the same name that resides around the Sun, in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, to study its composition, which appears to consist mostly of iron and nickel. Finally, the Russian Luna 25 mission should begin, which will bring a robotic rover to the moon.

The space economy is exploding, and woe to staying on the sidelines. “Space has become a huge factor in accelerating the growth of the country,” says Saccoccia. It is no coincidence that Pnrr was also involved. ASI has 880 million euros allocated which we will invest largely upstream, in what is sent into orbit, but with a return in terms of (downstream) satellite services and applications which will then be used by citizens and institutions. But with the agreements signed by the Ministry of Innovation with the European Space Agency and ASI, a total funding of 2 billion has been reached, which will allow Italy to keep some primates in the field.

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Now Italy ranks third in terms of contributions to the European Space Agency with 18.2% and is close to Germany (20.8%) and France (18.9%). This allows us to interact very differently with France and Germany than it was a few years ago. Italy is more involved in decision-making processes, a change that our country must know how to ride.

Request. An investment that is pumped into the production system?

Reply. Yes, space is an issue that has a great multiplier factor, with a great return on investment. Then we must add that the entire supply chain has now grown, in terms of efficiency and ability to act on orders, to such an extent that it has been important to provide it with new opportunities for development. There is also an aspect of vision, positioning abroad, and having financial resources and investments, which we were able to define with complete independence at the national level, which represented a strategic opportunity and allowed us to choose the areas in which we invest. The Italian aerospace supply chain covers all sectors, from research to productivity, often aiming to develop and also support innovative start-ups. This makes it globally competitive.

Q: There is a very close relationship with NASA.

A: We are also actively collaborating on the demanding Artemis project, which aims not only to return man to the moon in 2025 but also to build a permanent settlement there and then proceed to exploit its mineral resources and use it as a base for a human expedition to Mars. This is also an affirmation of the renewed centrality of space from an economic and geopolitical point of view.

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Q: Are there any reflections on the war space in Ukraine?

A: The repercussions are direct and indirect. The firsts in the space sector are mainly related to the reorganization of missions in which the Russians participate or to the use of technologies that may be less available. These missions, as with ExoMars, are being rethought because they want to move forward but will have to be reorganized. On the other hand, indirect repercussions relate to problems such as increased costs, including material costs, and scarce availability of electronic components. All of this will obviously have an impact, at least in economic terms, on current and future programmes.

s. Europe is also held back by the lack of its own carriers to put satellites into orbit.

A: This is true, and it is an issue that can no longer be postponed. We need to understand if there is a European (political) will to get its own bombers in order to have real space independence. The problem will be addressed at the next summit. Another topic related to launching projects, for example with Japan and Argentina. Space cooperation can be the driving force for other agreements, including trade agreements.