Forum in the frame of Italian Space Day 2022

Space is closer to our daily life than one might imagine: there are many contributions made by science and technology applied to space and many returns offered by the sector and related services in terms of economic growth, sustainable development, well-being and protection of the environment. The Italian Space Day - established in 2021 for December 16, the date on which the first Italian satellite S. Marco 1 was launched into orbit in 1964 - intends to spread to the general public the space activities in which our country plays a recognized international role, and at the same time promoting abroad Italian excellence in the sector.

To enhance these skills and verify possible synergies with the Slovenian system, the Ljubljana’s Office of the Italian Trade Agency organized a Symposium in collaboration with the Italian Space Agency as part of this celebration, to present the excellence of Italian aerospace industry and research. The event was held on January 17, 2023 at the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science of the University of Maribor and was mainly intended for researchers and students of the faculty, as well as representatives of Slovenian companies.

The University of Maribor is as well a center of excellence, where the TRISAT nanosatellites were designed which were part, together with Italy’s satellites, in two missions of the European Space Agency.

The Symposium, introduced by the Mayor of Maribor Saša Arsenovič and the Ambassador of Italy to Slovenia Carlo Campanile, was attended by a qualified parterre of experts made up of Silvia Ciccarelli of ASI, Head of Internationalization and Promotion of the National Space Industry; Anna Gregorio, Associate Professor of the Physics Department of the University of Trieste; Iztok Kramberger of the University of Maribor, Head of the Laboratory of Electroincs and of the TRISAT Project within the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science; Anilkumar Dave, Space Economy Advisor-Board Member of Global Entrepreneurship Network Space and VC Fund partner.

On the same day, the Italian Embassy opened the exhibition Looking Beyond in the Faculty Hall, promoted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation together with the Italian Space Agency and Telespazio SpA/e-Geos. Through a series of astonishing satellite images, the exhibition presents the unexpected and intrinsic beauty of the Earth through the lenses of the Italian COSMO-SkyMed satellite system. Inaugurated by Ambassador Campanile and Mayor Arsenovič, the exhibition offers an opportunity to reflect on the contribution of satellite technologies to Earth observation, the promotion of sustainable development and the protection of natural and cultural heritage.

It is the first time that Italian institutions promote the sector in Slovenia, giving a concrete follow-up to the Agreement signed in June 2021 between the Slovenian Ministry of Economic Development and Technology and the Italian Space Agency. The Agreement led to the establishment of a Joint Steering Committee at institutional level, which has so far met only virtually, due to the pandemic, with the participation of various companies from both countries.

Through a significant institutional and industrial commitment, Italy has acquired over time a leadership positions in the sector at a global level, which places it among the very few countries in the world with a complete space supply chain of products and skills, from research to production up to services, powered by a network of universities and research centers of excellence.

An immediate follow up was the mission to Ljubljana of Italian companies in the sector led by the President of ASI Giorgio Saccoccia on January 18, 2023, in collaboration with the Slovenian Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, for B2B meetings with the most important Slovenian companies in the sector.

The Business Forum was opened by the Slovenian Undersecretary for Economic Development and Technology Matevž Francež, who underlined the potential for involvement of Slovenian industry within the value chain of Italian companies and the significant research component present in the country. The Ambassador of Italy Campanile and the President of ASI pointed out that all the conditions exist for developing various opportunities for collaboration between the technologies of the two countries. The Director of the Slovenian Delegation to ESA, Tanja Permozer, highlighted that Slovenia already collaborates with the European Space Agency within various programmes. From an initial comparison between companies, it emerged that the sectors presenting the greatest opportunities for collaboration are Earth observation, micro and nano satellites and satellite control systems.