Apulia Region at Expo 2020 Dubai

International Forum

A journey into beauty and innovation: from Apulia to Space

Monday, 18th October 2021 Italy Pavilion – Amphitheatre

Italy has become the first European country to lay down specific regulations for setting up and operating a spaceport on its territory, taking an important step into a new strategic field in civil aviation which will allow for commercial suborbital flights to operate in our country.

In 2018, the Italian Ministry of Transport identified Grottaglie Airport, in the province of Taranto, as Italy’s spaceport and more recently, the Italian Civil Aviation Authority – ENAC’s approval of the Regulation for the construction and operation of spaceports, which took place on 21st October 2020, has made way for Aeroporti di Puglia S.p.A., the company which manages the regional airport network, to start the process of adapting the flight infrastructures to accommodate a new generation of space vehicles, destined to carry out space research and suborbital flights for private individuals, opening a new business segment for “space tourism“.

With a strategic infrastructure, the Grottaglie spaceport will play a central role in the development of new forms of space transportation, based on horizontal take-off and/or landing, and is a strong contender to become the European hub for reusable space transport systems, such as Space Rider, the first unmanned, reusable spacecraft developed by the European Space Agency, with the significant contribution of the Italian Space Agency, which has its first launch scheduled for 2023.
The vast possibilities of missions for the Space Rider, ranging from experiments in microgravity to in-orbit demonstration activities, such as robotic exploration, earth observation, science and telecommunications, to satellite inspections, open up new scenarios for space research, with applications in numerous industries, from pharmaceuticals and biotechnologies to physical sciences, which will strengthen the role of Europe and Italy in the new space economy.
The international forum intends to present the strategic role of Apulia in advancing autonomous access to space for Italy and the whole of Europe, starting out from the Grottaglie spaceport, as well as exploring the new frontiers of space transportation, with a focus on the potential of Space Rider missions, and promoting regional strategies in favour of attracting investments to further the creation of an aerospace hub at Grottaglie. 

Follow the event live from the Italy Pavilion on the following channel: