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National Space Day

On 16 December the beginning of Italy’s adventure in space, the launch of the San Marco 1 satellite in 1964, is celebrated. This made Italy the third country, after the United States and the Soviet Union, to put an artificial satellite produced entirely at the national level into orbit.

Through significant commitment by the institutions and by industry, over time Italy has gained a leading position in the sector at the global level. It is one of the very few countries in the world to have a complete space “supply chain” of products, skills and expertise.

Italy’s leadership leverages the capabilities developed by different actors in the sector (research bodies, universities and industry) and a wide range of enabling technologies. These range from systems manufacturing (satellite, launchers, inhabited infrastructures, etc.) to the operational management of space centres, to the supply of services in various spheres of civil society (security, environmental monitoring, transport, telecommunications, science, critical infrastructure monitoring, etc.).

Further testimony to our excellence in this field is the Artemis 1 Mission, launched on 16 November 2022. Its aim is to pave the way for future Artemis Project missions to return humans to the moon and to explore Mars. Thanks to its technological capacity, Italy is taking part in the mission and supplied the ArgoMoon satellite, the only European satellite to go into lunar orbit with Artemis 1. Our country has also made a major contribution to the development of the Orion spacecraft, which made a successful return to earth on 12 December after 24 days in space.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is committed to supporting the internationalisation of Italian companies working in the space sector through the numerous initiatives of its diplomatic-consular network on Italian National Space Day. These are closely coordinated with the leading institutional and private actors in the sector, starting with the Italian Space Agency. This year sees dozens of events, conferences, competitions and promotional initiatives. In addition, more than 50 of our missions with be staging the “Looking Beyond” exhibition, promoted by the Farnesina in collaboration with the Italian Space Agency and Telespazio/e-GEOS. The exhibition is curated by Filippo Maggia.