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Sustainable Satellite ManufacturinG

UKSA Space Cluster Microcredentials

  1. Understand the environmental and social impacts of the satellite manufacturing industry
  2. Understand how to apply sustainable design principles and manufacturing practices to satellite manufacturing.

Learning Objectives

Course learning objectives & skills

The European & UK Space Sectors


Introduction TO Space Manufacturing

  • Gain an overview of the development of the space sector in Europe.
  • Understand the Scottish space sector
  • Understand the fundamentals of the space projects

Block 1: Learning Objectives

  • The European Space Sector is considered to have begun in 1975 with the creation of the European Space Agency (ESA)
  • Europe is a key player in global space activities, encompassing space exploration, satellite communications, Earth observation, and scientific research.
  • Collaboration among various European countries under shared goals and initiatives.


Major Intergovernmental Organizations:

    • European Space Agency (ESA): Leading intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space.
    • European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT): Operational satellite agency for monitoring weather and climate.
    • National space agencies: UK Space Agency, CNES (France), DLR (Germany), ASI (Italy), and others contributing to regional and international space missions.
  • Key Contributions:
    • Development and launch of influential satellites and space probes.
    • Pioneering research in space science, Earth observation, and telecommunications.
    • Significant contributions to International Space Station (ISS) and major collaborative missions with global space agencies.


Read more about Copernicus

Emerging Trends and Focus Areas:

  • Increased investment in small satellite technology and New Space initiatives.
  • Growing focus on sustainable space exploration and minimizing space debris.
Flagship Projects and Missions:
  • Copernicus a European wide Earth Observation program to improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security.
  • Galileo is European Satellite Navigation System consisting of 23 operational satellites to provide an independent high-precision positioning system.
  • Continued involvement in the International Space Station and plans for participation in lunar exploration missions.
Challenges and Opportunities:
  • Navigating competitive global space market dynamics and increasing privatization of space activities.
  • Opportunities in space tourism, asteroid mining, and deep space exploration.
  • Emphasis on fostering talent and innovation within Europe to maintain a leading position in the space sector.


Global Collaboration and Influence:

  • Strong partnerships with NASA, Roscosmos, and other international space agencies.
  • Participation in significant global missions (e.g., Mars exploration, Hubble Space Telescope).
Technological Advancements:
  • Leading in the development of advanced satellite technologies and space exploration equipment.
  • Innovations in rocket and spacecraft design, particularly with the Ariane and Vega launch systems.
Economic and Scientific Impact:
  • Boosting the European economy through technological innovations, job creation, and commercial opportunities.
  • Contributing to scientific discoveries and our understanding of the universe.
  • Enhancing Earth monitoring capabilities for climate change research and natural disaster management.


  • The begnning of the commercial space sector: Early 1980s: Governments begin to contract private companies for satellite launches, setting the stage for commercial participation in space activities.
  • The growth in satellite telecommunications, with companies launching satellites for TV, internet, and GPS services drove increased commerical particpation in satellite design and manufacture in the 1990s.
  • Since 2010:
    • SpaceX: Revolutionizes the industry with the development of the Falcon 9 and the first privately-funded spacecraft to reach the International Space Station (ISS).
    • Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic: Push the boundaries of space tourism, offering suborbital flights to private individuals.
    • Innovations Driving Growth:
      • Small Satellites: The proliferation of CubeSats and small satellites lowers entry barriers, enabling startups and educational institutions to participate in space exploration.
      • Commercial Lunar and Martian Exploration: Private companies embark on missions beyond Earth orbit, targeting the Moon and Mars for exploration and potential resource extraction.

Commerical companies & Satellite Manufacturing

Defining New Space:

  • New Space refers to a modern approach in space industry characterized by more agile, innovative, and commercial practices.
  • A shift from traditional government-led space programs to private sector and commercial initiatives.
Global Impact:
  • The New Space movement is reshaping global satellite manufacturing, driving advancements in technology and expanding market accessibility.
  • Introduction of private players like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and OneWeb, challenging traditional space power dynamics.

The Dawn of New Space in Satellite Manufacturing

Innovation and Expansion:

  • Continued development in smallsat and cubesat technologies, pushing boundaries in communications, Earth observation, and beyond.
  • Growing trend towards satellite constellations offering global coverage and high-speed internet services.
Collaboration and Challenges:
  • Collaboration with international space agencies and companies for joint missions and technology sharing.
  • Navigating challenges such as regulatory frameworks, market competition, and sustainable space practices.
Looking Ahead:
  • The UK poised to be a key player in New Space with its innovative approaches and growing infrastructure.
  • Opportunities in emerging fields like space tourism, asteroid mining, and lunar exploration as potential future frontiers.

The Future of New Space

Commerical companies are leading the way on the transformation of satellite manufacturing, launch and operations.

  • Transformation from Government to Private Sector: Shift from exclusively government-led missions to significant private enterprise involvement.
  • Reusable Rocket Technology: Introduction of reusable rockets by SpaceX, reducing launch costs.
  • Satellite Constellations: Development of large satellite constellations, like Starlink, for global internet coverage.
  • Accessibility: Reduced costs and increased access to space for a broader range of entities.
  • Market Expansion: Opening of new markets including space tourism and global communications.
  • Economic Diversification: The space economy is becoming more diverse and accessible, indicating a vibrant future for commercial space activities.

The Role of Commercial Companies

UK Space Strategy

The UK's Role in Satellite Manufacturing:

  • The UK is a significant player in the global satellite manufacturing industry, known for innovation and expertise.
  • A focus on both traditional large-scale satellites and the rapidly growing sector of small satellites, including cubesats and nanosats.
Government and Private Sector Collaboration:
  • Strong support from the UK Space Agency and collaboration with ESA.
  • Partnerships between academia, industry, and government fostering innovation and growth.
  • Investments in spaceports and launch capabilities to enhance the UK's competitive edge.

The UK SatelLite Manufacturing Industry

The UK is a world leader in Small and Cubesat ManufactureMajor Companies and Facilities:

  • Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL): World leader in small satellite production.
  • Airbus Defence and Space: Major contributor in high-profile satellite projects.
  • AAC Clyde: Renowned for pioneering work in cubesats.
This BBC Documentary provides an overview of Satellite Manufacturing in the UK

The UK SatelLite Manufacturing Industry

Early Developments:

  • The UK's entry into New Space marked by advancements in small satellite technology, led by companies such as Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL).
  • Development of UKube-1, the UK's first cubesat, as a catalyst in the small satellite sector.
Growing Ecosystem:
  • Surge in start-ups and SMEs specializing in satellite technology, driven by increasing government and private investment.
  • Establishment of space clusters such as Space Scotland and innovation hubs, fostering collaboration between academia, industry, and government.
Policy and Investment:
  • The UK government’s increasing focus on space sector as a strategic industry, with substantial funding and policy support.
  • Plans for spaceports and ambitions for sovereign satellite launch capabilities enhancing the UK’s New Space profile.

UK’s Role in Shaping New Space



Key Achievements and Milestones:

  • Development and launch of innovative satellite missions such as UKube-1, the UK's first cubesat, developed in Scotland.
  • Leading roles in significant ESA missions and collaborations with major global space players. This includes manufacture of Sentinel payloads at Airbus to support ESA's Copernicus Program
  • Advancements in satellite technology, particularly in Earth observation, communications, and research satellites.

UK Achievements in Satellite Manufacturing


Future Prospects and Trends:

  • Growing focus on smallsat and cubesat technologies, aiming to make space more accessible and cost-effective.
  • Expansion into New Space sector with initiatives like the Skynet military satellite program and commercial telecommunications projects.
  • Plans to develop domestic launch capabilities, aiming to create a full end-to-end satellite service, from manufacturing to launch.
Challenges and Opportunities:
  • Navigating Brexit implications on international collaboration and funding.
  • Seizing opportunities in global satellite services demand, particularly in communications and Earth observation.
  • Emphasis on sustainable practices in manufacturing and space operations to align with global space sustainability efforts..

UK Future Prospects

Manufacuring at SSTL

Introduction to SSTL:

  • Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), a global leader in small satellite technology, based in Guildford, Surrey, UK.
  • A pioneer in cost-effective small satellite missions, SSTL has transformed the space sector with its innovative approach.
  • SSTL's Manufacturing Capabilities:
    • Specializes in designing, building, testing, and operating small satellites for a range of applications including Earth observation, science, and communications.
    • Known for its ability to deliver high-quality satellites at a fraction of the cost and time of traditional space missions.
  • Collaborations and Impact:
    • Works closely with academic institutions, industry partners, and space agencies worldwide.
    • Major contributor to the UK's space sector, driving innovation and expanding the commercial space market.
    • SSTL's advancements have enabled a broader range of organizations to access space, democratizing space technology.

Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) in Satellite Manufacturing

MARS Rover Manufactured in the UK

Introduction to Airbus Space Division in the UK:

  • Airbus Defence and Space, a division of the Airbus Group, is a leading aerospace company in Europe, with a significant presence in the UK.
  • Specializes in the design and manufacture of advanced satellites and space systems.
Airbus' Satellite Manufacturing Capabilities in the UK:
  • Major facilities in Stevenage and Portsmouth, where they develop and manufacture a range of satellite technologies.
  • Expertise in high-resolution Earth observation satellites, telecommunication satellites, and scientific exploration missions.
Notable Projects and Contributions:
  • Key player in the construction of the Eurostar series of communications satellites.
  • Involvement in high-profile missions such as the ExoMars rover, built in Stevenage, aiming to search for signs of life on Mars.
  • Significant contribution to the Copernicus program, developing state-of-the-art Earth observation satellites.
Impact on the UK Space Sector:
  • Airbus in the UK plays a pivotal role in bolstering the UK's space industry, contributing to technological advancements and innovation.
  • Creates high-skilled jobs and drives scientific research and development within the UK.
  • Collaborates extensively with UK space agencies, academic institutions, and other industry players to push the boundaries of space exploration.

Airbus Defence & Space (UK)

Scotland's First Space Company

IAAC Clyde Space is a leading innovator and manufacturer of small satellites and cubesats, based in Glasgow, Scotland.

  • Known for their pioneering work in the small satellite industry, particularly in cubesat technology.
Clyde Space's Role in Scotland's Space Sector:
  • A cornerstone of Scotland's space industry, contributing significantly to its growth and development.
  • Specializes in providing end-to-end small satellite solutions, including design, manufacture, testing, and operation.
Innovations and Collaborations:
  • Developed Scotland's first satellite, UKube-1, launched in 2014.
  • Collaborates extensively with academic institutions and industry partners, driving innovation in satellite technology.
  • Participation in major European and global satellite missions.
Impact on the Scottish Economy and Space Capabilities:
  • Boosting the local economy through job creation and skill development.
  • Playing a key role in establishing Scotland as a hub for small satellite development and manufacturing.
  • Expanding Scotland's capabilities in space exploration and commercial satellite services.

AAC Clyde Space: Pioneering Small Satellite Technology in Scotland

Manufacturing with SPIRE

Introduction to SPIRE:

  • SPIRE is a global data and analytics company specializing in using satellite-based data to provide insights across various industries.
  • Headquartered in San Francisco, USA, with a significant operational presence in Glasgow, Scotland.
SPIRE's Operations in Scotland:
  • Scotland is a key hub for SPIRE's satellite manufacturing and data processing activities.
  • Focus on small satellite technology, specifically cubesats, for a range of applications including weather forecasting, maritime tracking, and aviation.
Contributions and Achievements:
  • One of the largest private operators of weather and maritime satellites.
  • Pioneering in the development of satellite-powered data analytics.
  • Contribution to Scotland's growing reputation as a leader in small satellite development.
Collaboration and Impact:
  • Collaboration with Scottish universities and research institutions.
  • Significant impact on local employment and skills development in the aerospace sector.
  • Enhancing Scotland's global position in the space industry, particularly in the New Space economy.

SPIRE: Innovation in Scotland's Space Sector


Satellite manufacturing involves several key stages from design and material selection to launch and end-of-life management. Understanding these stages is crucial for a successful satellite mission.

space Manufacturing PRojects

Role of ECSS in Satellite Manufacturing:

  • ECSS standards provide guidelines and best practices to ensure quality, reliability, and safety in satellite manufacturing.
  • They address the complete lifecycle of satellites, from design and development to testing, operation, and decommissioning.

Introduction to ECSS Standards:

  • The European Cooperation for Space Standardization (ECSS) develops and maintains a comprehensive set of standards for space projects.
  • ECSS standards cover various aspects of space missions, including engineering, project management, and product assurance.

ECSS Standards

  • ECSS-E-ST-10C – System Engineering General Requirements: This standard covers the general principles and processes of system engineering applicable to all space missions.
  • ECSS-E-ST-35C – Mechanisms: It provides guidelines for the design, analysis, manufacturing, testing, and documentation of mechanisms used in space systems.
  • ECSS-E-ST-50C – Data and Signals: This standard defines the requirements for data communication systems in space projects, including cabling and connectors.
  • ECSS-Q-ST-70C – Materials, Mechanical Parts, and Processes: It addresses the selection, qualification, and control of materials and processes for spacecraft and launch vehicle hardware.
  • ECSS-Q-ST-60C – Product Assurance Management: This standard outlines the quality assurance requirements for space projects, covering aspects like quality control, nonconformity control, and supplier control.
  • ECSS-Q-ST-70-38C – Thermal Vacuum Outgassing Test for the Screening of Space Materials: It provides the test method for evaluating the vacuum outgassing characteristics of materials intended for use in space.
  • ECSS-E-ST-32-10C – Structural Factors of Safety for Spaceflight Hardware: This standard sets out the structural safety factors to be applied to spaceflight hardware.
  • ECSS-M-ST-10C – Space Project Management: It covers the management and planning aspects of space projects, including project structures, procedures, and documentation.

ECSS Standards Use in Space Projects

The standard provides detailed guidelines for risk management, covering identification, analysis, and mitigation of potential risks throughout the project lifecycle. It aims to minimize unexpected issues and enhance mission success.

ECSS-M-ST-10C emphasizes the implementation of stringent quality assurance measures to ensure the reliability and safety of space missions. This includes comprehensive testing, documentation, and risk assessment processes.

Quality Assurance

ECSS-M-ST-10C defines strict configuration control procedures to manage changes and updates to project components, ensuring that all spacecraft systems and related elements remain consistent and compatible.

Configuration Control
Risk Management

Key Principles and Guidelines of ECSS-M-ST-10C (pROJECT mANAGEMENT)

ECSS-M-ST-10C has evolved over time to address the changing needs and advancements in space technology. It is developed through a collaborative process involving input from space industry professionals, regulatory authorities, and research institutions.

Understanding the scope and applicability of ECSS-M-ST-10C is essential for space project stakeholders to ensure compliance with industry standards and best practices. It outlines requirements for development, verification, production, and operations.

Applicability & Compliance


Development & Evolution


Scope & Purpose

Understanding ECSS-M-ST-10Cfor Project MAnagement


ECSS-M-ST-10C, the European Cooperation for Space Standardization, is a set of standards and guidelines that define the requirements for the management, engineering, and quality assurance of space projects. It provides a framework for ensuring consistency and reliability in space missions

Impact on the Space Sector:

  • ECSS standards facilitate harmonization and interoperability within the European space industry.
  • They contribute to the global competitiveness of European satellite products.
  • Encourage innovation and technical excellence, adapting to evolving technologies and mission requirements.
  • Widely adopted by major space agencies and companies, such as ESA, Airbus Defence and Space, and Thales Alenia Space.
  • Integral to high-profile European satellite missions, ensuring adherence to international quality and safety benchmarks.

Key Aspects of ECSS Standards in Manufacturing:

  • Design and Development: Guidelines for robust and efficient satellite design, accommodating the unique challenges of space environments.
  • Quality Assurance: Ensuring high-quality manufacturing processes and materials, minimizing risks and failures.
  • Testing Protocols: Detailed procedures for rigorous testing, including environmental and functional tests, to validate satellite integrity and performance.

ECSS Standards in Satellite Manufacturing

Key Components of Space Qualification:

  • Environmental Testing: Includes exposure to vacuum, extreme temperatures, radiation, and vibration to simulate space conditions.
  • Performance Verification: Ensures that all systems and components function as intended in the intended space environment.
  • Reliability Assessment: Evaluates the long-term durability and operational lifespan of the satellite and its components.
Impact on Satellite Manufacturing:
  • Adherence to ECSS space qualification standards is crucial for the success and safety of space missions.
  • It reduces the risk of mission failure due to component malfunction or system breakdown.
  • Enhances the credibility and reliability of European space products in the global market.

Understanding Space Qualification:

  • Space qualification refers to the process of certifying that a component, system, or mission complies with the specific requirements for space operation.
  • It involves rigorous testing and evaluation to ensure reliability and functionality under the harsh conditions of space.
ECSS Standards and Space Qualification:
  • ECSS standards provide a comprehensive framework for the space qualification process, ensuring consistent and thorough evaluation.
  • They encompass aspects like environmental testing, performance verification, and long-term reliability assessment.



Detailed Definition

Preliminary Definition


Qualification and Production



Traditional space projects are managed to ECSS standard ECSS-M-ST-10C with pre-defined project phases.This course will concentrate on activites in Phases C & D

Mission analysis/needs identification

Space PRoject Phases

  • Exploration of mission feasibility and preliminary studies.
  • Definition of overall objectives and requirements.
  • Assessment of technical feasibility, cost estimation, and risk identification.
  • Exploration of alternative concepts and initial payload and spacecraft system studies.
  • Outcome: Feasible mission concept documented in a preliminary mission analysis report.

Phase 0/A - ConcePt &Feasability

  • Refinement and detailing of mission requirements.
  • Preliminary mission design including spacecraft configuration.
  • Development of initial subsystem designs and system architecture.
  • Conducting trade-off studies, evaluating mission performance.
  • Environmental impact assessments and safety analyses.
  • Outcome: Preliminary design review documenting the mission architecture.

Phase B - Preliminary Definiton

  • Finalization of mission design and detailed subsystem specifications.
  • Completion of engineering drawings, software development.
  • Planning for manufacturing, assembly, integration, and testing.
  • Rigorous engineering analyses for performance, reliability, and safety.
  • Outcome: Critical design review validating the final design against requirements.

Phase C - Detailed Definition

  • Manufacturing, assembly, and integration of spacecraft and components.
  • Assembly of spacecraft structure, installation of subsystems and instruments.
  • Comprehensive tests to verify performance and readiness (thermal vacuum, vibration, acoustic).
  • Ensuring spacecraft functionality and mission requirement fulfillment.
  • Outcome: Flight readiness review, spacecraft deemed ready for launch.

Phase D - Production Integration & Test

  • Final launch preparations, integration with launch vehicle, final testing.
  • Operational phase post-launch for mission performance (monitoring, control, data acquisition).
  • Regular spacecraft health checks and maintenance.
  • Duration varies from months to years.
  • Decommissioning: safe mission conclusion (deorbiting, passivation, disposal orbit transition).

Phase E - Launch, Operations, and Decommissioning

  • Formal project conclusion with final documentation and analysis.
  • Preparation of end-of-mission reports summarizing outcomes and lessons learned.
  • Archiving of mission data and documentation for future reference.
  • Publication of scientific findings for scientific missions.
  • Reviews to identify best practices, areas for improvement, and knowledge transfer for future missions.

Phase f - Closeout

Please continue to the next section of the course.

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Spire has a satellite manufacturing facility in Glasgow. https://spire.com/

The International Space Station

The International Space Station

The station was designed between 1984 and 1993. Elements of the station were in construction throughout the US, Canada, Japan, and Europe beginning in the late 1980s. The International Space Station Program brings together international flight crews, multiple launch vehicles, globally distributed launch and flight operations, training, engineering, and development facilities, communications networks, and the international scientific research community.

Europe and Space JOBS - 230 000UPSTREAM REVENUES (35% OF GLOBAL MARKET) - €9 BillionDOWNSTREAM REVENUES (25% OF GLOBAL MARKET) - €70 Billion22 ESA Member States, 27 EU Member States16% of global space public funding


The European Space Agency

EUMETSAT is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, with 30 member states. EUMETSAT operates the geostationary satellites Meteosat -10, and -11 over Europe and Africa, and Meteosat-9 over the Indian Ocean. It also operates two Metop polar-orbiting satellites as part of the Initial Joint Polar System (IJPS) shared with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In addition, EUMETSAT is a partner in the cooperative sea level monitoring Jason missions (Jason-3 and Jason-CS/Sentinel-6) involving Europe and the United States. The data and products from EUMETSAT's satellites are vital to weather forecasting and make a significant contribution to the monitoring of the environment and climate change. The European Union has entrusted EUMETSAT with exploiting the four Sentinel missions of the Copernicus space component dedicated to the monitoring of atmosphere, ocean and climate on its behalf. EUMETSAT carries out these tasks in cooperation with ESA and already exploits the Sentinel-3 and Sentinel-6 marine missions.



The EU Space Market

Economic Contribution of the European Space Sector

This study provides an analysis of the European space market. The market size and structure of the European space industry is considered, alongside the dynamics of the new space economy. The contribution of the EU space programmes to fostering the uptake of space data, and the challenges and drivers of maximising synergies between the EU upstream and downstream space sectors are examined. The new Space-based Connectivity Initiative is also considered.

UKube-1 was developed on Scotland by Clyde Space and was the UK's first Cubesat. It tested new technologies in satellite payloads. Read more about UKube 1 via the UK Space Agency Case Study

AAClyde specialise in small satellite technologies and services that enable businesses, governments and educational organisations to access high-quality, timely data from space. This data has a vast range of applications, from weather forecasting to precision farming to environmental monitoring. It is essential to improving our quality of life on Earth.https://www.aac-clyde.space/

DLR's traditional strength is its systems capability in aerospace research, which is unique in Europe and continues to evolve.Medium-term goals of DLR space research

  • Development and realisation of innovative SAR technologies with the aim of maintaining Germany's leading position in SAR technology and science in Europe
  • Improving broadband access (higher data rate as well as availability) through new approaches to satellite communications, in particular using optical technologies for data transmission to, from and between satellites
  • Studying the planets, asteroids and comets in the Solar System, and better assessing the potential danger of impacts on Earth from celestial bodies
  • Research for and development of reusable components for future launcher systems to secure independent European access to space
  • Validation of space transportation propulsion systems with 'green' propellants in a space environment and development of robotic systems for semi-autonomous to autonomous maintenance of satellites and infrastructure in space



The ExoMars rover mission – which is the first European rover mission to the Red Planet – is proposed for launch in 2028 to search for evidence of past or present life on Mars and help humankind better understand the history of water on the planet. Built by Airbus Defence and Space at the company’s UK facility in Stevenage, the rover is named after Rosalind Franklin – a British scientist and co-discoverer of the structure of DNA.

Key Achievements and Innovations:

  • SSTL has launched over 70 satellites, establishing a reputation for reliable and mission-flexible satellite platforms.
  • Pioneered the use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components, significantly reducing costs and development times.
  • Developed the Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC), the first commercial Earth observation constellation to provide daily images for environmental monitoring.

The UK Space Agency plays a major role in delivering the government’s National Space Strategy. We nurture a thriving space ecosystem – a network of investors, scientists, engineers, integrators, academia, and research labs – and a sector that generates an annual income of £17.5 billion and employs nearly 50,000 people across the country. o achieve the greatest impact in these three areas, we focus most of our resource behind eight delivery Priorities. These are:

  • launch: supporting satellite launch services from UK spaceports
  • sustainability: taking a leading role in keeping space safe and accessible now and in the future
  • discovery: supporting space science and exploration missions
  • innovation: investing in bold new technologies
  • levelling-up: boosting space investment and jobs across the country
  • Earth observation: studying our planet to drive discovery and tackle climate change
  • low-Earth orbit: delivering vital everyday satellite services
  • inspiration: inspiring new space customers, investors and the next generation


UK Space Agency

Founded in 1961, the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) is the government agency responsible for shaping and implementing France’s space policy in Europe.CNES has been innovatingfor industry, the military and research for 60 years. CNES leads on the Ariane Rocket program. The new generation of space launchers is on its way. Cheaper, more modular and more capable, Ariane 6 is soon set to make its debut in French Guiana. Our teams are gearing up to ready the new ELA-4 launch complex for final tests and extend our 40-year record of success



The Italian Space Agency (ASI) was established in 1988. It is a national public body tasked with developing and implementing Italy's space policy in compliace with government guidelines. The Agency has become one of the world's most important players in space science, satellite technologies, and the development of satellites to reach and explore the cosmos. Today, the ASI plays a leading role both in Europe and in the world. It enjoys a close and constant cooperation with NASA, which has made it participate in many of the most recent interesting scientific missions.