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ASI - Agenzia Spaziale Italiana - Press Room ASI - Agenzia Spaziale Italiana - Press Room

Italian Space Agency President, Roberto Battiston, meets NASA Administrator, Charles Bolden

07 October 2014

At their first ever bilateral meeting, NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. and Italian Space Agency (ASI) President Roberto Battiston reviewed the status of the bilateral cooperation between the two space agencies. The meeting highlighted both nations' commitment to human space exploration and other international initiatives, both on a bilateral level and through Italy's contribution to the European Space Agency (ESA). The leaders of the space programs acknowledged the importance of the International Space Station (ISS) as a launch pad for human exploration of Mars, and expressed strong support for its continuation. 

In particular, both parties confirmed their commitment to the ASI-NASA Memorandum of Understanding regarding the MPLM (Multi-Purpose Logistics Module) for the ISS, signed in Rome on 9 October 1997. 

Bolden congratulated Italy for the imminent launch of the first female Italian astronaut on the station, Samantha Cristoforetti. Bolden commented that “We appreciate our partnership with Italy and the progress made in science and human space flight. It is essential to have such strong partners in our adventure towards Mars. We are looking forwards to the launch of Samantha Cristoforetti's mission as first female Italian astronaut, and to breaking many more records in our future collaboration with ASI”.  

Battiston replied, saying that “We have a long and strong tradition of cooperation with NASA, and today's NASA/ASI meeting is further proof of the recognition of Italy's skills in space activities. I see new sectors of cooperation in our future. ASI is very interested in exploring new areas of bilateral cooperation for studying and exploring asteroids, monitoring, protecting and mitigating the damage caused by space detritus, and new ideas for microgravity experiments on board the space station”.  

Bolden and Battiston signed an extension of the NASA-ASI Swift Gamma Ray Burst Explorer mission, reciprocally confirming what has been a useful cooperation in the field of astrophysical research. They also discussed new opportunities for further cooperation in the aeronautics, science and technology sectors, as part of the Italy-US “Framework Agreement on Civil Space” signed in March 2013.