Luca Parmitano: “Space commercialization is a true economic revolution”


“The commercialization of space, which took off strongly in the United States a few years ago, “is a true economic revolution” whose effects “if not taken into consideration, unbalance the entire European space economy”. ESA Astronaut Luca Parmitano gave a Lectio Magistralis entitled “New Space Economy and Italy”, held at the LUMSA University in Palermo on the occasion of the awarding of an honorary master’s degree in Economics and Management. The growth of the Space economy is exponential: “the global space industry estimates revenues of one trillion dollars or more in 2040, compared to the current 350 billion. If Italy (with Europe) wants to participate in this market, – said Parmitano – it will have to contribute to the ingredients with the support and the strong push of institutional programs that are the catalyst for commercial success across the Atlantic. “.

Human and robotic exploration “is evolving very rapidly,” said Parmitano, recalling the return to the moon of the United States in this decade, the entry into human space flight of India and the United Arab Emirates, the next Chinese space station. ESA has secured the presence of European astronauts and the provision of housing and supply modules on the Lunar Gateway. “Europe must continue to be present in the critical path of space exploration”. If supported “politically and programmatically, ESA will be able to work with NASA to ensure the historic event of European astronauts who will leave their footprint on the moon within the next 15 years”.

“The return on invested capital, for human space flight, is currently estimated at around 200% and is destined to increase”. Furthermore, there are other advantages that the industry receives from the study, development and integration of new technologies, “perhaps not quantifiable but certainly tangible benefits”. Today the US and Europe have comparable GDP – said the astronaut – “it is therefore unjustified that Europe’s capital invested in space research is a tenth of NASA’s availability”. And it is no coincidence that private companies have decided to invest in human exploration: “it is an unequivocal sign that the space economy is an engine and a multiplier of the economy. The cost of inaction would be extremely higher. We have already paid for it in the Information Technology industry and in energy production where today in Italy and in Europe we depend on external players “.

“It is essential an Italian and European increase in financial commitment to ensure leadership in the new programs and the possibility of participating in lunar and future exploration”, Parmitano concluded.