Space Factory 4.0: Italy aims at the future of satellite constellations

An innovative network of satellite factories is developing throughout the country thanks to funds from the PNRR

With the aim of positioning itself as a global reference point in the satellite constellation sector, Italy takes a step forward with the Space Factory 4.0 program of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR). Financially supported by the European Union and coordinated by the Italian Space Agency (ASI), the program aims to develop a network of factories throughout the country for the production of small satellites, promoting the integration of advanced technologies. On 28 April, the first contract was signed between ASI and a temporary consortium of companies, including Thales Alenia Space Italia, Argotec, Sitael and CIRA. This agreement provides for an investment of approximately 65 million euros and aims to promote the digitization of processes, the use of robotics and artificial intelligence. The proposed innovations aim to speed up production lines, reducing satellite construction and testing times to meet the emerging needs of the space economy.

The Space Factory 4.0 program also extends to the satellite components sector, with two further contracts recently signed. The first, signed on 28 July between ASI and a group of companies led by Thales Alenia Space Italia and Sitael, provides for an allocation of 15 million euros for the development of digital technologies and new testing infrastructures. The second, signed on 7 August between ASI and CESI, highlights the intention to boost the production of solar cells for satellites, with funding of 13 million euro. These agreements represent not only an investment phase, but also a future phase of asset utilization and management through a 15-year Public Private Partnership (PPP). This model allows ASI to maintain ownership of half of the infrastructures developed, making them available to the industrial community. A strategic move that will allow small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as startups, to access resources and benefit from the services offered.