Air Launch, a new Italian perspective for space access

Italy has an important space tradition, and is still able to express all those capabilities that are part of the entire cycle of a space mission, including the definition of the mission, the production of the satellite, the preparation of the ground segment, the management of the launch (capabilities known as up-stream), as well as the processing of satellite data in services and commercial exploitation of them (capabilities known as down-stream).

In particular, with regard to the launcher sector, Italy has been the third country in the world, after Russia and the USA, to have put its own satellite into orbit in 1964. Three years later, under the leadership of the scientist and General of the Corpo del Genio dell’Aeronautica Militare, Mr. Luigi Broglio, the platform “San Marco” was made operational along with the rest of the entire launch base off the coast of Malindi, Kenya, known today as Broglio Space Center.

Over the years, space activities have increased their importance both in operational and economic terms. The ability to access space resources and thus to be able to put into orbit its own satellite, until recently prerogative of a few countries for military or institutional purposes only, is becoming an opportunity for several commercial operators, now established companies able to offer launch services with advanced technologies and at reduced costs.

Currently, at European level, all satellite launches with the carriers Ariane 5, Soyuz, VEGA are carried out with almost exclusively institutional purposes from the French polygon in Kourou, Guyana, through agreements between ESA and CNES, the French Space Agency. The French authority gives consent to the launch, while Italy does not have autonomous and direct access to Space. The reactivation of the Broglio Space Center in Kenya, would give back to Italy the launch capacity demonstrated in the past, but would need a preventive plan of resumption of launches, based on the new launchers, to make the recovery of this structure sustainable.


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