Guido Sangiovanni started working on exploration of Mars and the Moon when working with ASI (the Italian Space Agency), after graduating and taking his PhD in aerospace engineering from the Politecnico di Milano.
He joined Leonardo in 2011, when he was appointed deputy program manager of ATLID (ATmospheric LIDar), a laser for analysis of the Earth’s atmosphere, at the Campi Bisenzio site. Guido now works at Leonardo’s Nerviano site on the production of equipment for satellites and space probes, at the helm of the team that develops robotic systems for space, designed and developed for exploration of Mars and the Moon. “The team’s principal competences in this area are in the design, construction and validation of drills, planetary sample acquisition systems and robotic arms”.
Right from the start, he has been entrusted with coordination of highly ambitious projects with large teams, both within the company and in the context of international partnerships with other European space companies and the principal space agencies (ASI, ESA, NASA).
As he himself says, “The programme dearest to me is ExoMars, both the part regarding the drill (ed: the first drill capable of reaching a depth of 2 metres on Mars to collect samples for subsequent scientific analysis in-situ) and the part concerning the Ma_Miss spectrometer installed in its tip. Not only because this is a technological gem, but because it reminds me of the many people – engineers and scientist – with whom I share my passion for, and commitment to, space exploration”.
With regard to Mars, Guido is also program manager of an ambitious project aimed at extracting fragments of Martian soil to be taken to Earth for the very first time in history. These will then be analysed by researchers in an unprecedented study on the Red Planet. Within the scope of Mars Sample Return, a NASA program developed in collaboration with ESA, Leonardo leads a European industrial consortium that will design, produce, integrate and test the Sample Transfer Arm (STA), a 2.5 metre long robotic arm that is to land on Mars by the end of the decade.
Guido has participated in numerous international space programmes and travelled around the world presenting his researches. His profound passion for space and exploration of the universe leaves little room for the rest, but his work is like dreaming of the future in broad daylight, like “touching with your own hand robotic systems that will travel to other planets and heavenly bodies, for the advancement of human knowledge”. What better way to spend your career?