Bilateral cooperation between Italy and the US in the space sector dates back to the end of the second world war.

The Ixpe satellite, part of a NASA-ASI joint mission
The Ixpe satellite, part of a NASA-ASI joint mission

Only a month ago, on December 9, the Imaging X-ray polarimetry explorer (Ixpe) mission, an Italian Space Agency (ASI) and NASA joint operation, left the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Thanks to the launch of the Ixpe satellite, which carries three high-tech telescopes on board, the mission will study the polarization of X-rays, targeting active galactic nuclei (AGN), micro quasars, pulsars and pulsar wind nebulae, magnetars, X-ray binaries, remnants of supernovae and the Galactic Centre.

On the occasion of Italy’s First National Space Day, the Embassy of Italy in Washington organized a virtual event on “US-Italy Cooperation on Space Exploration and Exploitation” to celebrate cooperation between the two countries.

Italian ambassador to the US Mariangela Zappia opened the meeting, highlighting the importance of the space industry for global economic development. 

Mariangela Zappia, Italian ambassador to the US
Mariangela Zappia, Italian ambassador to the US

“Today, space is one of the most effective drivers of economic growth, and innovation is the key to maintaining and strengthening competitiveness” commented Ambassador Zappia. “Italy has always been one of the main players in the field worldwide, boasting not only a long tradition, but also a complete supply-chain of products and services that has led our industry to develop invaluable expertise and quality”

Karen Feldstein, Associate Administrator for International and Interagency Relations at NASA, and Gabriella Arrigo, Director of International Relations at ASI, participated in the event, underlining the crucial and longstanding importance of cooperation between Italy and the United States in the space sector.

“Our bond with the US in the sector is truly special. Just think of the ISS” explained ambassador Zappia, adding: “all our industries’ exceptional achievements are the result of a constant collaboration between our agencies – ASI and NASA – and of a continuous dialogue between our governments”.

space: cooperation between italy and us

The webinar ended with a round table discussion, in which industrial strategies were discussed in view of the new lunar exploration program. The speakers also talked about the importance of the LEO orbit in support of the development of technologies necessary for deep-space exploration and as a catalyst commercial space activities, and stressed the importance of startups.

The panel discussion, moderated by Jennifer DiMascio, Executive Editor of Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine, was attended by Jacki Cortese, Government Relations Manager of Blue Origin; Mary Lynne Dittmar, Executive VP of Government Affairs of Axiom; Marshall Smith, Senior Vice President of Nanoracks; Ettore Scardecchia, Chief Engineer of Avio; Roberto Provera, Director of New Initiatives and Innovation of Thales Alenia; and David Avino, CEO of Argotec.