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Italy, US to enhance space talks, deepen cooperation

Rome and Washington look to solidify their space partnership by launching a bilateral dialogue in 2024. The strategic move aligns with Italy’s efforts to bolster space ties with the US and other nations, positioning itself as a frontrunner in this expanding industry

New US-Italy space bilateral coming up. The United States and Italy are set to hold the first one-on-one space dialogue in 2024 “with a particular emphasis on innovative industry,” said Chirag Parikh, the White House National Space Council Executive Secretary, on Friday. He announced this alongside the Italian Ambassador to the US, Mariangela Zappia, during the Italian National Space Day event held at the Italian embassy.

  • He hailed the entrance of a “new era” of space cooperation, expanding from the national to the international level, where Italy remains an “indispensable partner” in all areas of civil, security and commercial space cooperation.
  • Italy will also host the 75th International Astronautical Congress in 2024, a further opportunity to showcase the country’s ambition to play a leading role in the international space sector.

An expanding entente. Mr Parikh’s announcement underscored the growing space cooperation between Rome and Washington. Most recently, Italy joined the Defence into Combined Space Operations (CSpO), the multilateral initiative to optimise the use of technological resources to improve the safety and resilience of defence space missions – essentially a space version of the intelligence-sharing Five Eyes consortium, plus Germany and France.

  • Joining the CSpO was the latest move to strengthen the Italian Armed Forces’ partnership with Washington in the space field. In April, Italy’s General Space Office of the Defence General Staff signed a memorandum of understanding with the US Space Command to assign a permanent Italian liaison officer to the latter.
  • Elsewhere, Texas-based Axiom Space is working with Thales Alenia Space Italia and the Italian Air Force to replace the International Space Station with a commercial version – and Italian companies are cooperating with US entities on space food.
    • The Italian Air Force will send Colonel Walter Villadei, who is already training in the United States, into orbit aboard the Ax-3, the upcoming private spaceflight to the ISS – and he’ll be eating Italian.

Italy’s growing space drive. The partnership with the US is part of Italy’s broader efforts to enhance its role in the international aerospace industry. Rome is among the few European capitals that can “preside over the whole chain of activities involving space, such as access to orbits, navigation, telecommunications and Earth observation,” said Teodoro Valente, President of the Italian Space Agency, in an interview with our sister website last August.

  • At the November ESA Space Summit in Seville, Rome, Paris, and Berlin signed an agreement to lift the European space sector out of its launcher crisis and ensure its access to orbit. The trilateral declaration also opened up the possibility for Italian aerospace champion Avio, which manufactures the Vega family of launchers, to commercialise its services autonomously.
  • Most recently, Adolfo Urso, the Italian Minister for Enterprise, met with Sanae Takaichi, Minister of Space and Technology, to discuss enhancing cooperation on Earth observation and space exploration.
    • “Space is confirmed as a great opportunity for development and innovation that we intend to seize with conviction,” commented Minister Urso.

Image: @ItalyinUS on X

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