Leonardo for the first National Space Day

15 December 2021

Economic growth, the well-being of citizens, sustainable development, protection of the environment and the international prestige of Italy can all benefit from the space industry, which boasts cutting edge technologies and services also designed and developed by Leonardo. 

To highlight the economic, social and environmental returns of space activities, the first National Space Day will be celebrated on 16 December. This special day was initiated by the Italian Prime Minister’s Office upon the proposal of the Ministry for Technological Innovation and Digital Transition and is coordinated by the Italian Space Agency (ASI).

It is an important day for Leonardo, which has scheduled several initiatives for the occasion in collaboration with the Group companies, Fondazione Leonardo and the CTNA. 

Space has no frontiers. This 2021 edition of #T-TeC, the Open Innovation contest in the space industry promoted by Leonardo and Telespazio with the sponsorship of ASI and ESA, was open to young people all over the world and the awards will be presented at EXPO 2020 Dubai. The ceremony will be held on the morning of 16 December on the stage of the Italy Pavilion including live streaming in the ASI Auditorium, where Vittorio Colao, Minister for Technological Innovation and Digital Transition, responsible for space and aerospace policies; Maria Cristina Messa, Minister of University and Research; and Giorgio Saccoccia, President of the ASI will be among the participants. Also participating in the event will be the winning teams; prominent representatives of the European and Emirati space sector; Luigi Pasquali, Space Activities Coordinator of Leonardo and CEO of Telespazio; Pierpaolo Gambini, SVP of Innovation and IP of Leonardo; and Marco Brancati, SVP of Innovation and Technology Governance of Telespazio (to view the live streaming of the event: Facebook e Youtube).

Fondazione Leonardo-Civiltà delle Macchine is also organising a round table entitled “Space, Defence, Security” at the Library of the Senate of the Republic on the afternoon of 16 December. On that occasion, Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati, President of the Senate, will participate with an introductory welcome. Works will be opened by Luciano Violante, Fondazione Leonardo-Civiltà delle Macchine President, Minister Vittorio Colao will give the opening speech and the concluding remarks will be provided by the Italian Minister of Defence Lorenzo Guerini. The goal is to contribute to the development of the Space discussion, which is at the same time scientific research, market, defense, security and communication and for this reason represents the new continent of this century. Also participating in the discussion will be Roberto Vittori, Astronaut of the Air Force and European Space Agency, Gen. Luca Capasso, Head of the Space Office and Space Operations Command of the Joint staff headquarters, Adm. Giacinto Ottaviani, CASD President, Sen. Roberta Pinotti, President of the Defense Commission of the Senate of the Republic, Hon. Roger De Menech, Vice President of the Defense Commission of the Chamber of Deputies and Luigi Pasquali, Coordinator of Leonardo's space activities (live streaming event on the Senate of the Republic or Civiltà delle macchine website).

In the interim, for those who want to test their knowledge of the Italian and international space missions and their positive impacts on society and the planet, the Leonardo twitter page (@Leonardo_IT) has set up a “Space Quiz”.  There are seven multiple choice questions: one per day and can be answered until 16 December, when all the correct answers will be unveiled.

Following and thanks to Thales Alenia Space (joint venture between Thales 67% and Leonardo 33%), it will be possible to see how satellites are created with the opening of the doors to the Satellite Integration Centre in Rome with a special guide, Youtuber and scientific popularizer Adrian Fartade. Adrian will publish a video with interviews with managers and engineers of the company on his “link4universe” channels (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook), with focus placed on the industrial sites of Milan, L’Aquila, Rome and Turin and on the great space challenges of the future. 

Speaking of the future, Telespazio (joint venture between Leonardo 67% and Thales 33%) will broadcast a special episode of its T-Talks on the company’s social channels. This episode focuses on the industry’s history and challenges, from the development of services to fight space debris and to the future communication and navigation services on the Moon. Special guests will include Luigi Pasquali, CEO of Telespazio; Giovanni Caprara, journalist and university teacher specialised in the history of Space; and Mauro Canali, RaiStoria consultant and former Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Camerino.

But Space is not just technology and future. It is also environment and sustainability. e-GEOS (company owned 80% by Telespazio and 20% by ASI) will present the new LOVE PLANET EARTH 2022 calendar, with the sponsorship of the IYAFA (International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture – FAO).  The aim of e-GEOS is to pay homage to artisan fishing and aquaculture by taking a journey through spectacular satellite images of the entire planet.

Finally, there will be several initiatives for young people with the aim of inspiring and spreading the space culture. Fondazione Leonardo organised a morning of training for the students at Museo delle Officine Galileo, part of the Leonardo Museum and Archive System, allowing the discovery of technologies, stories and skills concerning the space industry. Officine Galileo, currently Leonardo SpA, were involved in many space missions, and in this way were able to attain a prominent role at the national and European level, and even that of world leader. In collaboration with Leonardo and La Sapienza and with the sponsorship of ASI, Avio, INAF, Thales Alenia Space, Telespazio and several Italian aerospace districts, the CTNA launched the “Space Olympics”, a training initiative for eighth grade and high school students.


The date 16 December was chosen to celebrate the launch of the first Italian satellite, San Marco 1, which took place on 15 December 1964. This event allowed Italy to become one of the first countries in the world to go beyond the earth’s atmosphere. Since then, Italy boasts numerous pre-eminences in space and has become one of the major players on the international scene, also thanks to the role industry has played with Leonardo.

The National Space Day was initiated by the Italian Prime Minister’s Office and is an occasion to get citizens more interested in the world of Space. Italian research organisations, companies of the industry, museums, foundations, scientific institutions and public administrations will take part with events throughout Italy. 

The goal of the National Space Day is to reach the public and make it understand that space technologies are essential for the everyday life of a nation.
To consult the schedule of the entire National Space Day, visit the page of the Italian Space Agency