Additive Manufacturing and 3D printing in space activities to strengthen sustainability and economic growth

The use of Additive Manufacturing in space activities and the support of entrepreneurship and innovation for sustainability and economic growth are the themes of the Italian GSEW (Global space economic workshop) to be held in Puglia on May 25 and 26, 2023 at the Norman Swabian Castle of Mesagne in Brindisi.

The GSEW, organized by the Aerospace Technology District (DTA) in collaboration with the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the European Space Agency (ESA), now in its fourth edition, involves leaders and executives of key European space and non-space stakeholders who will be engaged for two days behind closed doors to promote and initiate industrial collaborations and cooperation, strengthening industrial competitiveness, economic growth, innovation and sustainability.

In the two-day event, Mesagne will welcome entrepreneurs and start-ups that can develop solutions in line with the most advanced space-related challenges. Additive manufacturing (additive manufacturing) will play a major role and in enabling the future of human space travel and interplanetary colonization and is already playing a key role in enabling the production of low-cost satellites and lighter, more efficient rockets to carry cargo into orbit. In the coming years, 3D printing will contribute to space travel, its “colonization” and habitation. The market for additive manufacturing with 3D printing in the private space industry is expected to reach $2.1 billion by 2026, and in this scenario new opportunities open up for domestic and European industry. Companies and space agencies are increasingly turning to additive manufacturing for complex components such as thrusters and engines. Satellite networks, orbiting vehicles, rovers and more can benefit from additive-enabled designs. And NASA’s Artemis mission will result in the creation of a base camp on the surface of the moon that will include infrastructure such as launch ramps and roads, as well as habitats and later production facilities such as greenhouses, refineries and power plants. 3D printing will be critical to the creation of that infrastructure. In this context, startups and innovative entrepreneurs can play a positive and important role in developing disruptive technologies and solutions in a faster and more agile manner. The engagement of public and private actors, and in particular the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency, in giving startups access and technical and commercial support to a wide network of space partners and investors is therefore critical to accelerating innovation and enabling future joint successes for the European space ecosystem.

Equally relevant will be the sessions devoted on the second day to the topic of business and startup support, in which key Italian players involved in aerospace startup support policies will participate to discuss and debate future challenges. . During the sessions ASI will present its activities in the field of entrepreneurship that aim on the one hand to develop skills, stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship, and on the other hand to support startups and help build a sustainable future, while promoting an attractive working environment in the space sector.

The Mesagne event, presented by journalist Michele De Feudis, will open with a speech by Giuseppe Acierno, president of DTA, and greetings from Antonio Matarrelli (president of the Province of Brindisi and mayor of Mesagne) Roberto Formaro (ASI Director of Programs) and Luca del Monte (ESA Commercialization Department Manager). The Italian space strategy will be illustrated by Adolfo Urso, Minister of Enterprise and Made in Italy.

Giuseppe Acierno, president of Dta, emphasizes that “The partnership and synergy between the District and the Space Agencies, European and Italian, will bring numerous entities and companies to Apulia for two days to discuss and define new industrial and scientific collaborations to support the challenges and opportunities for growth and employment that space increasingly offers communities. We are very pleased to be doing this task together with the space agencies as proof of the role that the District has been able to build over the years.”

Luca Del Monte, (Head of Commercialization Department of the European Space Agency) points out that “Esa is particularly proud of GSEW in Apulia, since the first event of this revolutionary format was held in this very region. Over the years, GSEW has been used to explore cross-border synergies and connections between the space sector and between the space sector and various industries such as UAVs, cybersecurity, biotechnology, energy, transportation, and, today, the fast-growing sector of additive manufacturing. Each GSEW event to date has generated not only exciting discussions and reflections, but also produced concrete actions, industrial activities, and visible and tangible effects on society and the economy. We expect to have the same kind of impact from the GSEW 2023 edition in Mesagne.” Augusto Cramarossa, Head of Strategic Area Coordination and Space Economy Unit, ASI. recalls that ” The Italian Space Agency has been co-organizing the GSEW since its first edition in 2018 giving an important contribution on strategic space issues of regional, national and European character. We are pleased to share, this year, our experience and vision on issues related to Additive Manufacturing and support to entrepreneurship and Space economy. We strongly believe that cooperating and investing in innovation is crucial today to build a sustainable future, meet global challenges and inspire the younger generation.”