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Aerospace, the final frontier: resurrecting Italy's declining industry

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By Richard Cadey
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Aerospace, the final frontier: resurrecting Italy's declining industry
Copyright  euronews

The manufacturing industry in Italy has been declining for nearly three decades, with the process more evident in the Northwest of the country: the automotive sector reduced its workforce by 50% to around1% of the national workforce.

Now though the area area has responded by expanding into different sectors with its vast array of high quality specialist skills. Most prominent among these is the aerospace sector, offering hope and incredible possibilities for development in the Turin district.

Here there are five major players, from Leonardo to Thales Alenia Space. There is an ecosystem of 350 companies and around 22,000 workers involved in the major programs of the international space agencies.   

Giuseppe Russo, Director Luigi Einaudi Research Center

"It's not going to be a one-to-one workforce transfer. However, building cars for a long time gave the city and its educational institutions the right DNA to handle complex technological processes. These are now needed even in areas that once would never have been thought of."

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Dynamic fluid systems for the International Space StationEuronews

Mobility is evolving, and the European, as well as the Italian government's agenda are shifting towards a greener industry. Aerospace innovations can successfully complement the auto supply chain.

In Pinerolo, a Turin province, there is a company that produces dynamic fluid systems for the International Space Station and the future Cislunar station. Andrea Romiti, the CEO at APR enterprise, explains how aerospace research can help in different industries.

"We’re working on the so-called 'unmanned' cabs of the future, without human guidance, to logistics operations to use in precision agriculture."

Alessandro Balossino is Head of the R&D Unit at Argotec.

"We have a long tradition in space. Italy was the third country in the world to send a satellite into space, and hardly anyone knows that. It is also a country that manages to cover the whole supply chain by itself."   

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The Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti looks at the Espresso coffee machine designed by Argotec in Turin.Euronews

This Turin-based space company started with a coffee machine for astronauts, fifteen years later, it made the only European satellite aboard the Artemis mission, which will put humans back on the moon. But this industry aims to go far beyond that. Fulvio Boscolo is the General Manager at LMA

"We need to pool the expertise each facility can offer to guarantee a product of excellence like the one that the market we represent today requires."

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Aerospace lab in TurinEuronews

Aerospace is an opportunity for the entirety of Italian industry and local and national institutions are working with the EU to seize it. A billion and a half of the Italian National Recovery and Resilience Plan is earmarked for the future Aerospace City of Turin. 

There’s also project to integrate large industries, SMEs, research, and education, with Polytechnics and Universities, from which an additional 20 thousand jobs are expected. This represents one of the most ambitious industrial projects in Italy and will begin to come to life this autumn.