The ASI’s role in Europe, within the European Space Agency and in the international relationships
Today, the Space Economy is recognized by the OECD as one of the most effective motors for economic growth, well beyond the limits of the space industry in the strict sense. At the same time, Space has become an actual foreign policy and ‘soft diplomacy’ tool, showing great flexibility and market penetration in cultural and social environments which are often structurally different.
Such topics are more relevant than ever, considering that the international context is quickly and constantly evolving, due to both the appearance on the scene of new countries which are eager to make a name for themselves in this industry and the scheduling difficulties caused by the ongoing global economic crisis and its consequences, which are sometimes protectionist.
Italy has been aware since the beginning of the great political, social and economic value of all the activities related to Space, and has always distinguished itself in the field of bilateral and multilateral cooperation, by participating in several and important international projects – both through the ASI and directly, at government level.
The large space infrastructure programmes, same as those with a high scientific profile, need by nature the mobilization of remarkable technological and financial skills. At the same time, the cooperation in these areas should have a geopolitical connotation, so that the European and/or international dimension becomes key to achieve the development and growth goals of the existing national capacities in a more efficient and effective manner.
To emphasize the complexity of the international relations system the ASI is dealing with, we can mention, amongst others, its task to continue to ensure the Italian role and participation in multilateral international coordination projects, in different international, global contexts, such as the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) and the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), as well as in strategic sectors such as the observation of the Earth (GEO, CEOS), the exploration of the universe (ISECG), medicine and microgravity (ISLSWG), the analysis of debris in space (IADC), satellite navigation (ICG) and safety.