The economy of the future will fly into space. Even when he keeps his feet firmly on the ground. The universe is a veritable mine of opportunity, not only for business, but also for protecting our planet, which is experiencing an increasingly environmental emergency, and helping developing countries lay the foundations for a future of sustainable growth. good news two. The first is that Italy is competitive in this field. The second is that, in stark contrast to what is happening on Earth, international cooperation in space is immutable, and the treaties regulating the exploitation of the universe are respected on average by all countries, including those, such as China, that tend to do so. Its spread was strongly felt.
but what What is the space economy? And why will it be so important in the future? business men
Talk about it with Simonetta Di Beboastrophysicist, who in the past held important roles in the Italian Space Agency, in the European Union and at the United Nations, and who since last March has been Director of the Space Economy Development Lab (SEElab), the SDA Bocconi Laboratory founded in 2018, specifically to study the economy of space and the economic impacts of space activities. De Bebeau begins “the space economy”, “is the set of activities that generate value in the space sector in the strict sense of the word and in all other areas that benefit in some way from space”. Thus, the concept of space is very broad, especially if we consider the amount of new technologies that have revolutionized Earth observation, telecommunications and geolocation. The variables on which many productive sectors depend, and even, in some cases above all, those that seem to have nothing to do with the economy of space. At SEElab they understand this very well and with their activism they have literally built the world of tomorrow, even the economic one. The goal is to become a center for research worldwide, creating synergies between institutions, the academic world, individuals and even civil society. Because to build the future, it is necessary to involve as many actors as possible.
The guiding principles on which to act are many, as well as the opportunities. In the medium to long term, SEElab remains true to the focus that was founded four years ago by Andrea Sommariva, the exploitation of space resources, which is to work on technologies that can be launched in deep space
To collect rare earth materials that can be the cause of wars or tensions. “For example,” de Bebeau explains again, “let’s imagine that we can reach on an asteroid. Here we can collect cobalt, nickel, platinum and gold. The basic materials for future technologies. The Mining
in the space It is certainly one of the main goals in the medium to long term. But we must not forget that we are all bound by very specific international treaties, especiallyOuter Space Treaty
who defines space as a “province of humanity,” in other words, a “common good,” which cannot be the prerogative of a particular nation and must be preserved for future generations.
And speaking of the future, there is another topic that is especially dear to our interlocutor: the climate. Precisely from the top, from the very top, we can tell what is wrong with the Earth, thanks to satellites with increasingly sophisticated technologies and data, many of which are free and free, provided by American and European platforms. Suffice it to say that more than half of the 54 climate variables selected by the World Meteorological Association can be accurately and continuously monitored from space. This opens a mine of opportunities. “They are short-term goals,” emphasizes de Bebeau, “but they are important goals, in which space infrastructures can make a significant contribution. With the correct use of space data, it is possible to help, for example, countries that do not have satellites in orbit, but She can use those of others for Promote sustainable social and economic developmentPoverty eradication, proper use of land, smart city. Space can become an accelerator for these processes.”
It is not surprising that among the sectors that seem to have nothing to do with the space economy, and which instead could be very interested and advanced thanks to this huge trend, there, in the head,Agriculture, which, going back to the initial rhetoric, is also unfortunately one of the practices that contribute most to climate change. Satellite systems can be very important allies in monitoring what is happening and helping farmers reduce fertilizer use and rationalize water use. The future is bright then, but we need to work on it. It’s a lot. The good news is that the use of space is already characterized by a regulated regulatory environment, in which all countries with well-developed space programs adhere to the rules. More effort must be made to involve even those states that have not yet ratified international treaties, and to involve them in the United Nations committee that deals with them, in order to increase a more responsible position at the international level. However, we can and must improve. Simonetta Di Bebo explains it well. «One thing should be noted: there are private operators who plan to launch thousands upon thousands of satellites, the so-called “mega-towers”.
One of them is Elon Musk with the starlink It has already launched about 2,000 and expects to reach 13,000. But there are many other initiatives. We currently have about 8000 satellites in operationObviously, the higher the number, the greater the need for further measures to allow for controlled re-entry into the atmosphere and its management in orbit. The main thing is to get approval to coordinate traffic in space, which I think should be managed by the United Nations. The work has been going on for some time. “Space diplomacy” can also be a great tool for bringing together countries on Earth that have some difficulty talking to each other. Life on the International Space Station does not allow for conflicts: everyone must work with respect for everyone. Not only the lives of the astronauts are at stake, but the success of the mission. The atmosphere is always great cooperation.”
In short, above the sky there is a world. And Italy is literally on the launch pad to get there. However, there is work to be done here as well. According to Professor de Bebeau, it is necessary to move along two paths. The first is the multidisciplinary approach to the space, creating highly specific professionals who know how to approach this important challenge in all the diversity of the situation, while maintaining their basic preparedness. SEElab by Bocconi, the first company in Italy to follow this philosophy, had precisely its objective: to train professionals who, in addition to their vertical, engineering, aerospace, legal and other expertise, develop a knowledge of all the sub-sectors that make up the space of the economy. Then there is the second aspect that Simonetta de Bebo is particularly interested in: “We must all work towards the same goal. Competition is important, but a coherent and comprehensive vision is needed at the national level. Only in this way will we be able to get to where Italy, in my opinion, deserves to be, that is, at the top. During my 35 years of professional activity, I have developed a conviction that diversity is an added value. It is valid in all cases, even in space.”
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