Italian Space Agency (ASI)
ASI was founded in 1988 in order to coordinate the Italian efforts and investments in the space sector that had begun in the 1960s. It is a public administration supervised by the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) and it works collaborating with various ministries.
Within twenty years' time, ASI became one of the most significant players in the world in:
- space science,
- satellite technologies,
- the development of mobile systems for exploring the universe.
Today ASI has a key role at the European level, where Italy is the third contributor country to the European Space Agency (ESA). It also is involved at the international level. For example, ASI has a close working relationship with NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), which has led to its participation in many of the most interesting scientific missions of recent years. One of the most fascinating projects, for example, has been the construction and activities of the International Space Station, where Italian astronauts are by now at home.
Thanks to ASI's efforts, the Italian scientific community has had unprecedented successes in recent years in astrophysics and cosmology, contributing, among other things, to reconstructing the first moments of life in the universe and making essential steps towards understanding the gamma ray bursts phenomenon. Furthermore, ASI has contributed significantly to space exploration by building scientific instruments that are aboard NASA and ESA probes bound for discovering the secrets of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. In all of the major missions planned for future years - from Venus to the comets, up to the outer limits of our solar system - there will be a piece of Italy.
In addition to providing the means to study the universe, the observation of the earth from the space allows us to predict and prevent environmental disasters, to ensure quick intervention in crisis-stricken areas and to measure the effects of climate change. Italy is also in the forefront in this area. For example, COSMO-SkyMed, the jewel in the crown of ASI programmes, is aimed at improving our knowledge of the earth.
Through to the work of ASI and the Italian industry, Italy pursues a tradition in the field of research in spatial propulsion. In particular ASI has the leadership in the European VEGA programme, the small rocket fully designed in Italy.
Space is no longer an exclusively research field, it is also an important economic opportunity. The telecommunications and satellite navigation market, just to mention one application sector, is expanding continuously. ASI, with its experience in building and placing satellites into orbit, operates in such a way that Italy will be ready to seize new opportunities. Now more than ever, from essential questions on universe knowledge and understanding (as the origin of life) to experimenting new technologies, space is where humans can broaden their horizons, increase their knowledge and ensure a better future on the earth.
Because of ASI's efforts, Italy is playing a major role in this exemplary human enterprise.
CGS - Centro di Geodesia Spaziale Giuseppe Colombo
BSC - Luigi Broglio Space Center