2023 promises to be a year full of activities for the Italian space, with projects such as the rover for the Moon and Mars, the first satellite communication system in lunar orbit, instruments for studying the icy moons of Jupiter and the possibility of oceans under ice, the constellation Iris for Earth observation and the commitment to a law that regulates space activities. All this is part of the program presented by the president of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) Giorgio Saccoccia and financed by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR).
The 2023 projects
During 2023, Italy will focus on participating in European programs for the Moon, such as the Argonaut lander and the Moonlight communication system, in which Italy will play a leading role, said the president of the Space Agency Italian (ASI), Giorgio Saccoccia. In this sense, it already is preparatory work at industry level and coordination of European Space Agency programmessuch as the launch of the lunar lander, in which Italy plays a leadership role.
A very important program for Italy
The next step will be to establish roles and define industry-wide interests among the program partners. The president of ASI underlined that this is a very important program with great returns for Italy. Italy also has the leadership in the project Moonlightin which the Italian industry participates with Telespazio, and whose objective is to bring the communication and navigation capacity from terrestrial orbit to lunar orbit.
The space exploration programs in which Italy is involved
The space exploration programs in which Italy participates within the ESA are ever closer. The first appointment is scheduled for April with the launch of the Juice mission (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer) directed to the moons of Jupiter Ganymede, Europa and Callisto. The Italian tools that will help you understand what is hidden under the ice they will be the Janus camera system created with the Parthenope University of Naples, the Rime radar created with the University of Trento and 3Gm, developed with the Sapienza University of Rome, which will measure the extent of hidden seas.
The launch of the ESA’s Euclid satellite for the study of dark matter and energy, with a strong contribution from Italy and the United Kingdom, is expected no earlier than September. Both projects see an important role of Italian industry, with Leonardo and Thales Alenia Space (Thales-Leonardo). Italian industry is also involved in the ExoMars mission, which after ESA approval in November 2022, is now fully resumed, said Saccoccia. Time is running out for this new mission. Following the breakdown of the collaboration between ESA and Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine, a collaboration with NASA was established, but now there is a need for formalization by the United States regarding resources. The budget for this mission will be defined in the second half of 2023.
I founded the PNRR
2023 also provides for the deadlines established by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), which awarded the space a total of 2.3 billion euros. “In the first quarter of 2023 the planned activities will be contracted” both those managed by ASI and those conducted within ESA, said the president of ASI. “We are working to ensure that this happens without problems and as regards the part managed by ASI, we are receiving offers for all open tenders and we are working at full speed to honor the commitments”.
Towards a law to regulate space activities in Italy
Finally, an acceleration of the debate for a law regulating space activities in Italy is expected for 2023. The president of ASI declared that there will be a “confrontation with the industry” to ensure that the maximum possible consensus is obtained and to be able to proceed to the next step. The goal of a law regulating activities in space is to support development without limiting growthand to be a tool for the competitiveness of the Italian sector, which is becoming increasingly strategic and a leader in Europe and in the world.
The importance of an Italian law
A good law for space activities is essential for the country, as it represents a competitive tool for the space sector. The space sector has a strategic value for the country, not only for the technological repercussions, but also for those related to defence. Space activities are of vital importance for various areas such as telecommunications, the synthesis of new molecules, the management of agriculture through earth observation, environmental and climatic surveillance.
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