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Gelmini: Italy is a leading player in space

The Ministry of Education, Universities and Research at the International Air Show in Le Bourget

The ASI delegation’s visit to the centenary “Paris Air Show”, which ended on 21 June, was brought to a close on the morning of 18 June by the Minister for Education, Universities and Research, Mariastella Gelmini. At the press conference following a long tour of the stands accompanied by Enrico Saggese, ASI’s Commissioner, Gelmini issued a series of concrete reassurances on her Ministry’s commitment to ASI’s activities. Space, said Gelmini, “is a successful model for partnerships between the public and private sectors which can be applied to other sectors”. This success is also thanks to the “absolutely virtuous” relationship between the Italian Space Agency and industry. The Minister went on to underline with evident pride that “even at a time like this, Italian companies are managing to compete in such a difficult sector”. Gelmini finally pointed out that space “will play a leading role in our National Research Plan”. During the visit, the Minister visited the Finmeccanica stand. Finmeccanica chose the Le Bourget show to present the Strategic Situation Center (SSC); a control room using an integrated system of the most advanced technologies developed by the Group to manage security and protection (ranging from terrorism to natural disasters, and from urban security to the security of critical infrastructure and borders).


From the Le Bourget diary: 17 June
ASI and the Russian federal space agency (Roscosmos) made a first important step towards much closer collaboration in the space sector by signing a letter of intent on 17 June during the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget. In the agreement the two agencies have identified two areas for collaboration in particular: the improvement of satellite telecommunication systems to achieve total cover of the planet, particularly developing the polar routes; and research and development in some of the frequency bands which can be used in Earth observation systems. The agreement will initiate data and information exchanges and active collaboration between the respective scientific and industrial communities. Among other things, the agreement has identified the Russian Arkon-2 mission, based on SAR technology, as the first possible area for scientific and industrial cooperation.

The collaboration between Italy and Russia in space will immediately become even closer when ASI’s Commissioner, Enrico Saggese, visits Russia at the end of August for the Moscow Air Show.


From the Le Bourget diary: 16 June
At the Paris Air Show, The Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the Israeli Space Agency (ISA) signed a bilateral cooperation agreement in space for peaceful aims. The five-year agreement identifies five particular areas of collaboration: space research with particular attention on exchanging teaching and research staff; space exploration; Earth observation and its applications, in particular SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) and hyperspectral remote sensing; satellite telecommunications; and the use of facilities and infrastructure on Earth.
The document was signed by ASI’s Commissioner, Enrico Saggese, and ISA’s General Director, Dr. Zvi Kaplan.
Signing this agreement is the result of contacts between Italy and Israel which began with an ASI delegation’s visit to Israel between 7 and 9 January 2009. During the visit, the Commissioner Enrico Saggese met ISA’s top management and also the President, Shimon Peres. An Israeli delegation led by the Chairman of the ISA, Isaac Ben-Israel, then returned the visit on 20 March in Rome. On both occasions several areas of possible collaboration between the two countries were identified, areas now confirmed by the agreement.

The Le Bourget Air Show
The biennial Paris Air Show at Le Bourget is an event which has become the most important exhibition in the world for the aerospace sector.  Using the tone reserved for great occasions, the organiser (GIFAS, the French body for industries in the sector) called it “the centenary Air Show”, in reference to the first international exhibition of air transport held in Paris in 1909. At that time, the exhibition was held at the Grand Palais, in the heart of the city, but in1953 the event moved northeast to the small town of Le Bourget, site of the Paris airport of the same name.