Space, Saccoccia: “For ministerial Italy Esa historic”

The president of the Italian Space Agency to Adnkronos: “Record global numbers, our country has globally invested 3.083 billion euros over 5 years. Great attention from Urso”

Our country closes the new round of investments in European space programs with record global numbers and with programs that will boost the growth of our businesses and of a sector, that of spacestrategic for national development. “For Italy the ministerial Esa which closed in Paris was a ‘historic ministerial’ because we are the ones who have grown the most – among the ESA countries – in terms of investments and percentage weight in the European budget”, says the president of the‘AsiGiorgio Saccoccia, thus commenting with Adnkronos, the Council of Space Ministers of the 22 member countries of theHex which has just closed in Paris. The number one of the Italian Space Agency reports that “at the Paris ministerial, Italy invested a total of 3.083 billion euros over the 5-year programming, reaching 18.2% of the total that ESA received from other countries”. “It is a growth of around 20% compared to the previous ministerial in Seville when Italy was at 15.7%” with a portfolio of 2.3 billion euros. And Saccoccia believes that “these data demonstrate how strongly Italy believes in the space sector and how much it is strengthening it”. After all, the numbers speak for themselves. Saccoccia recalls that “the total budget of ESA that came out of the Paris ministerial amounts to 17 billion euros (16.923 billion euros exactly) and marks an increase of 17% compared to the 14.511 billion euros of the Seville ministerial in 2019. In that occasion Germany reached 22.7%, France 18.4% and Italy 15.7%.Now, in Paris, the picture records that Germany drops to 20.8%, France rises just to 18.9% while we instead rise to 18.2%: ours is a remarkable growth”. In this context, Saccoccia also recalls that in Paris England reached 11.2% of the ESA budget, slightly down on the 11.4% in Seville”.

“Italy is proving to be among the absolute leaders of European space activities, we are growing in terms of investments, in terms of role and we have strengthened our contribution in key industrial sectors such as Exploration, Earth Observation, Space Transport and we are also increasing in space telecommunications” underlines Saccoccia again, indicating that our country in space activities “participates in all important programs also in other strategic sectors for our industries”. For Italy, therefore, the budget of the ESA ministerial in Paris “was extraordinary” and “for this I want to thank all the ASI team who have been preparing the Agency since last February for this strategic moment for European space policies” he continues Pocket. In a delegation to Paris with the new minister with responsibility for Space, Adolfo Urso, owner of Industry and Made in Italy, the president of ASI underlines that the exponent of the Meloni government is demonstrating “great and immediate attention towards the space world”. Saccoccia argues that Urso “is acknowledging to Italian companies – to all companies: large, medium and small – their strategic role in the space sector”. “I was very impressed by how much Minister Urso is dedicating right away to the space sector. However, Urso’s attitude does not surprise me – observes Saccoccia – because I know that in his previous roles he was in close contact with the world of industry and space , therefore he is a man of institutions well prepared” for this sector. But what the ASI president is keen to point out “mostly”, with respect to the strategy of the new government responsible for Space, is that “Minister Urso is demonstrating a strategic sensitivity towards Italian companies”. “Urso considers space an important element to support Italian companies” assures the president of ASI.

Some missions for European astronauts have also been defined in Paris and Saccocia proudly reports that “it is now officially confirmed that an Italian astronaut will go into orbit around the Moon on the Lunar Gateway”. “ESA has recognized our role and I have just received the confirmation letter from ESA’s General Manager, Josef Aschbacher, in relation to what was promised at the Seville ministerial in 2019 and which is now made official: Italy will have one of the astronauts of the class of 2009 aboard the Lunar Gateway” reports the president who at the French summit was also able to ‘greet’ the new class of European astronauts of ESA and the reservists including two Italians: Anthea Comellini and Andrea Patassa. “They are two guys with exemplary professionalism” comments the head of ASI who is keen to point out the depth of our two new ESA reservist astronauts, aerospace engineer Anthea Comellini, 30, born in Chiari in the province of Brescia, and the aerospace engineer Andrea Patassa, 31 years old, born in Spoleto and captain of the Air Force.

The new 2022 class of European astronauts just announced by ESA is made up of 5 regular astronauts and 12 reserve members, including Comellini and Patassa, and for the first time by an astronaut with a disability. The new group of active astronauts will join those already in service in ESA and which sees, among its members, ‘veteran’ Italian astronauts of the caliber of Samantha Cristoforetti, Luca Parmitano and Roberto Vittori. “In the class of 2022 Italy has two reservists but our country with Cristoforetti, Parmitano and Vittori is a country already over-represented in the ESA astronaut corps” clarifies Saccoccia. President Asi does not hide his pride in our astronauts Samantha, Luca and Roberto, “spearheads” of our space system who have already participated in numerous missions on the International Space Station and of which Cristoforetti and Parmitano were also ISS Commanders . And looking at the new generation, Saccoccia points out that Comellini and Patassa “are just over 30 years old but they are two exceptional astronauts, they have an experience as if they had already lived two lives” and finally reiterates their “exemplary professionalism” recalling that “They are reservists, they have not yet received a contract from ESA, they are not actual astronauts but their professionalism is exemplary. I am sure they will fly soon”. (by Andreana d’Aquino)