The space economy is confirmed as a priority sector for the promotion of investments in Emilia-Romagna, supported by various initiatives and concrete investment projects. The sector has strong synergies with the mechanical engineering and automotive clusters, which rank among the region's main productions, with competitive companies in aerospace-related fields: helicopters, aircrafts, drones, composite and advanced materials, fastening elements, cubesats, nano-satellites and additive manufacturing. Big Data and Supercomputing also play a key role in many applications related to aerospace, including weather forecast, earth observation, simulation/development, VR/AR. Regional clusters related to aerospace work on applications that include health & well-being and agri-food, with applications ranging from commercial space flights to precision farming.
The Emilia-Romagna Region has recently signed an agreement with Axiom Space, one of the leading US companies in the sector, in order to promote cooperation on the development of the space economy. The initiative is in addition to the Strategic Agreement between the Region and the Italian Air Force for collaboration in the field of commercial spaceflight and human exploration.
The results of the "call for research projects in the field of aerospace economy and critical infrastructure design" were published in November 2023. The beneficiary companies will receive €2.6 million in grants for total investments of €6.7 million. Aerospace-related projects include: electric thrusters in mini/microsatellite constellations; miniaturization, industrialization and upgrade of Picosatellite; development and testing of shielding materials against cosmic radiation; remote, real-time monitoring of astronauts' health services to be used on a large scale for patients on Earth; development of a medical device to be used in the transport of trauma patients by helicopter; Flight control system for vertical take-off aircraft. Among the companies financed are: Alma Automotive, Cshark, Curti Costruzioni Meccaniche, Dallara Automobili, Cni Informatica, Gvm Assistance, Poggipolini, etc.
The Emilia-Romagna Region has been engaged in several international missions related to the space economy, in particular in Japan (November-December 2023) and Houston-Texas in the USA (March 2023). Among the important subjects met in the USA: Johnson Space Center, NASA, Axiom, Greater Houston Partnership, Rice University, Intuitive Machine, Houston spaceport, Nanoracks, Ascend Texas. In Japan, some important meetings were with: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (IAXA), University of Tsukuba, etc. In December 2023, the Region participated in the Italian National Space Day in Tokyo, with a delegation of universities and companies, in collaboration with the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the Italian Cultural Institute of Tokyo.
The regional innovation ecosystem includes: ANSER AeroNautics and Space in Emilia-Romagna, regional Clust-ER network (including Clust-ER Mech), CICLoPE - University of Bologna Centre for International Cooperation in Long Pipe Experiments, IR4I - Innovation and Research in Aerospace/Aeronautics, CINECA (the largest Italian computing centre), Forlì aeronautical technology pole and many collaborations among universities, technopoles, research centres.