The fourth edition of NSE Expo Forum in Rome concluded last Saturday: a conference devoted entirely to the New Space Economy. The event took place at Fiera di Roma, from December 1st to 3rd, and stood out for a program dense with international guests, up-to-date discussion panels and nearly one hundred exhibitors from the industry. EuroSpaceHub actively and enthusiastically participated in the event through the on-site attendance of two of the founding partners, Lunex and the International Space University (ISU).
The event took place in two different locations at the new Fiera di Roma: the conference hall and the exhibition area. There were numerous side events to complement the rich program of conference panels. These included “the Arena”, an open discussion area set up among the booths in Hall 9, and several social moments to facilitate networking. The common thread throughout the event was “Sustainability as a Game Changer”, an absolutely topical theme in the current scenario of Space exploration. Among the most interesting aspects of this event was undoubtedly the innovative focus of the program of the talks, which was highly centered on the New Space Economy, at the same time providing technical-scientific insights. The topic of sustainability was emphasized as a responsibility to which aerospace companies and institutions are called to, but also as an opportunity for them to generate value.
The first day began with an opening ceremony with institutional greetings from Rodolfo Guzzi, chairman of the conference, and Alberto Tuozzi, president of the Amaldi Foundation, one of the main organisers. The former stressed the importance of finding a new ethical dimension, within the New Space Economy. The second one highlighted the potential of the New Space Economy to bring disruptive innovations to the aerospace sector. Such innovations can benefit society as a whole and improve humanity on many levels. Quoting the President of Amaldi Foundation, “Ethical responsibility in this case is not just comparing what can and what cannot be done, but choosing among the various possibilities the one that is right for humanity and society.”
Among the guests invited to open the conference was Giorgio Saccoccia, president of the Italian Space Agency (ASI), whose speech emphasized the strategic role of Space in sustaining and protecting our planet with a view to greater sustainability, and the consequent importance of giving visibility to the role of Space in this regard. Other opening guests included Fabio Casasoli CEO of Fiera di Roma, Paolo Ornelli representing the Lazio region, Giuseppe Cavo Dragone of Italian Defense, Elena Grifoni-Winters representing the Italian government, and Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia as representative of the Church. The speakers generally remarked on the epochal changes we are experiencing in the aerospace sector and the consequent need for a capacity of creating visions. Quoting Monsignor Paglia, “We have a new way to discover. Today it is Space that looks at Earth: it is Space that asks us for a new vision. Space is no longer just to be observed but can radically transform our lives. That is why we need a new vision to deal with it.”
Next were speeches by Rodrigo da Costa, Executive Director of the European GNSS Agency, and Pascal Ehrenfreund, President of the International Space University. Prof. Ehrenfreund stressed the importance of training young people in entrepreneurship and the consequent strategic role of the International Space University in this direction. ISU – proudly one of the founding partners of our EuroSpaceHub project – is developing educational programs precisely in this direction and is investing in Space education to train the workforce in a new vibrant scenario characterised by the opportunities of the New Space Economy. In this regard, there is a great responsibility to train the future generations: Space will increasingly lead the other sectors of our society and Space Education is therefore crucial. Following Prof. Ehrenfreund’s contribution, were: Christian Feichtinger, President of IAF, who highlighted the efforts from a sustainable perspective undertaken by IAF and concretely visible in the organisation of the IAC 2022 events in Paris and the next IACs in Baku 2023 & Milan 2024; Dominique Tilmans, President of Eurisy and Josef Aschbacher (with a video contribution), General Director of ESA.
Once the opening ceremony was over, the Exhibition in Hall 9 officially started. Here EuroSpaceHub had an important attendance. In fact, our initiative had a dedicated booth, run by partner LUNEX, where visitors could learn about our project and receive more information. The ISU partner also had its own booth, where it hosted various EuroSpaceHub promotional materials. Other exhibitors included a variety of entities: from large organisations, including also ESA and ASI, to companies such as Thales Alenia Space, Leonardo, Telespazio, Nanoracks, and Argotech, to name but a few, as well as several public and private universities, such as LUISS and the University of Bari. There were also numerous small and medium-sized Italian companies that participated in the event as well as organisations such as Women in Aerospace, with whom we had the honor and pleasure of talking about gender equality in the aerospace sector (a topic that is particularly close to our hearts!).
The program of speakers was dense with varied contents. From the sessions “Space for Climate,” “Preserving Dark Skies,” “Space for Health,” and “Space Transportation” on the opening day, to the discussion panels “Saving Resources,” “Life in Space,” and “Monitoring Low Earth Orbit” during the second day. We attended with particular enthusiasm the session “From the Earth to the Moon,” where Prof. Bernard Foing – CEO of our partner organization Lunex – presented the vision of the EuroSpaceHub project. During his talk we were able to give the audience a “taste” of analog missions, which are organised by Lunex and which are part of our program as an innovative way of training young students and professionals. Serena Crotti and Kato Claeys – two analog astronauts from the EMMPOL missions (a collaboration between LUNEX EuroMoonMars and the Analog Astronaut Training Center in Poland) – were actually there in their blue suits to promote EuroSpaceHub activities at the conference and in the exhibition area. Afterwards, the two analog astronauts were invited to the Arena in the exhibition to participate in the “Students Challenge Awards” session. This was an important moment to disseminate the efforts of EuroSpaceHub, whose promotional materials were installed right there in the Arena ground. Other panels on the second day included the two sessions entitled “Managing Risks” and “Space Weather: effects and threats” and the interesting “Life in Space” session where we were able to enjoy an account by Paolo Nespoli, Italian astronaut, on the challenges of life aboard the ISS.
Finally, the third day of the conference focused on young people and students. Indeed, there were award ceremonies for particularly outstanding students and winning projects from various competitions. Among the winners were three bright girls who won a parabolic flight (first prize) and two internships in high-profile Space companies. On the podium in first place was Giulia Cambone of La Sapienza University of Rome and Arianna Borelli, of Luiss University, as second classified. We had the pleasure of interviewing them for Lunex and EuroSpaceHub communities. When asked, “What is your advice for young students in the Space sector?,” the two answered with two motivational and inspiring statements. Giulia Cambone suggested, “Have no doubts when it comes to challenging yourself in new adventures and new dares. Simply, just go for it!” while Arianna Borelli encourages, “Don’t be afraid to follow your values and bring something innovative to the Space sector and beyond, don’t be afraid of your ideas!”
We conclude this report with some remarks about the event and EuroSpaceHub’s participation. It was an interesting and highly instructive moment, during which we were able to promote our values and give visibility to our project. We met many realities in the industry and expanded our network. We actively represented EuroSpaceHub through a dedicated booth and worked hard to bring our visions and programs to the aerospace community. We look forward to the next steps! And if you are curious to know more about these days in Rome, you can visit our instagram and LinkedIn pages @eurospacehub and Lunex @euromoonmars.
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