“Reach for the Stars: Bridging Italy’s Potential in Space with Its Foreign and Security Policy”, Karolina Muti (IAI, Italy) 

Italian capabilities, expertise and potential in the space sector are not widely known. Among state actors, Rome has actually been a pioneer in the field, boasting a long tradition that started in 1964 when Italy became the third country, after the Soviet Union and the United States, to send a nationally manufactured satellite into orbit. From an industrial standpoint, Italy is among the few countries whose companies cover the whole space value chain. In Europe, Rome is ranked second for total number of assets in orbit and is currently the third contributor to the European Space Agency (ESA). An Italian astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti, has recently become the first European woman to take command of the International Space Station (ISS). The Italian Space Agency (ASI) is active in the so-called “space diplomacy”, fostering scientific cooperation with actors across the globe. Rome was also one of the first countries to join the Artemis programme in 2020, an initiative led by NASA which aims to complete a new crewed moon landing by 2025. Despite Italy’s potential in this sector, much can still be done to make the most of the country’s space capabilities, including for the benefit of its foreign and security policy (FSP). Such effort should focus firstly on the three key strategic directions of Italian FSP: Europe, the transatlantic alliance and the Wider Mediterranean.

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