When laboratories will rise in the panorama of the south pole of the Moon in the next few years, electric vehicles will run between craters, robotic machines will extract resources from the ground and satellites will ensure connections with the Earth, all will also have the Made in Italy label. With this objective, a first group of 15 companies gathered under the leadership of Thales Alenia Space obtained initial funding from the ASI space agency to develop the innovations necessary to share the plans launched in the United States and Europe. If some companies are already known on the cosmic front, others see a precious opportunity for technological development and growth useful for competitiveness.

The agreements

ASI and the government have signed preliminary agreements with NASA and ESA for the Artemis Program dedicated to the return of man to the Moon and to future activities planned. The studies – explains Massimo Comparini, managing director of Thales Alenia Space (67% Thales, 33% Leonardo) – will allow us to draw a map of the Italian presence in the various fields, enhancing our skills in the sustainable lunar economy source. In the group there are companies such as Aiko for artificial intelligence, Prima Additive for 3D printing used in the construction of infrastructures with soil regulation and Merlo manufacturer of lifting machines. Qascom will be added for navigation while the architectural studio Design Gang will design comfortable environments whose purification plants will be by Pieco while the light composite materials needed will come from Leonardo’s aerostructures division. And again, Enel will distribute electricity, the vehicles will be the result of Stellantis and the robotic systems of Leonardo. Other skills will be provided by Argotec, Nanorak Europa, Value Partners and Fondazione Amaldi. We will build the inhabited modules Halo and I-Hab of the station in lunar orbit and with the American company Dynetics we share the project of the astronaut landing module – says Comparini -. Together we have created a network of companies destined to grow and in which we will fertilize each other while the Altec center in Turin, already expert in activities on the ISS and on Mars, will also be active on the Moon.

The innovation plan

In practice, this is a great innovation plan with an industrial return of at least a billion dollars with repercussions in the terrestrial daily life, starting with communications where our engineers have cutting-edge experience in both technology and management with Telespazio. Telespazio is competing for the ESA Moonlight project aimed at telecommunication and navigation systems according to a public and private approach – specifies Alessandro Profumo, CEO of Leonardo -. The current phase of planetary exploration offers great opportunities for the Italian space industry. Leading agencies and companies will work with small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups to map out technological solutions capable of guaranteeing the life and operation of humans and robotic systems on the Moon, with particular attention to sustainability and the protection of the extraterrestrial environment. The Italian space ecosystem increasingly includes the contribution of companies and capital from other sectors, to guarantee the country to consolidate technological sovereignty, a fundamental condition for enhancing the effects on our planet as well. It will also allow us to participate in the definition of international guidelines and regulations that are indispensable for governing human activities on the Moon.

April 8, 2021 (change April 9, 2021 | 07:32 am)

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