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Space Café Italy by Dr Emma Gatti: Alessio Grasso on the role of the motorcar industry in the space economy

Alessio Grasso; Photo courtesy of him

In the first episode of Space Café Italy Dr. Emma Gatti is in conversation with Alessio Grasso, Space and Defense Unit Manager for Dallara, the Italian historical racing car company founded 50 years ago by Gian Paolo Dallara. Dallara is an extremely popular firm, often defined as a game-changer company in the motor racing sector, however, its name is not directly linked to the Space Industry. What convinced a car racing company to turn to the stars, and why now?

From Cars to Space

In this discussion, Alessio explained why Dallara and other Italian “traditional” investors in the Emilia Romagna region are looking for outreach into the Space field. The exponential growth of the space industry has started to raise interest among those stakeholders involved in other classic Italian fields of investment, which would like to extend their applications onto Space.

The link between Dallara and the Space industry is the technology applied to building racing car frames,  similar to the material requirements for spacecraft. Both need light, strong, and thermally resistant materials, and Dallara has been involved for decades in researching composite materials (such as carbon fiber to cite just one) that can make a car lighter, faster and more secure. Turns out that this is useful for space travel too.

Dallara’s interest also lies in researching new materials manufactured in low gravity, the economic benefits of producing tools directly in orbit and the potential expansion of the Space Economy into the private sector, in particular space tourism. Their long-term interests are moving towards promoting a new industry within the region and participating in the creation of a supporting sector for the logistics of lunar exploration.

Emma also asked Alessio which are the main obstacles to develop a fully operative space private sector in Italy. The difficulty, says Alessio, often lies in the fragmented and isolated mentality of the Italian territory, where small players are often in competition with each other and avoid collaborations because of the fear of rivalry. This lack of common ground and no large-scale cooperation can dramatically slow the development of such a common goal.

To know more about the involvement of Dallara in the Space economy, its goals and its new projects tune in and don’t miss the first-ever episode of Space Café Italy!

This Space Café Italy was held on 3rd February 2022.

SpaceWatch.Global is a Switzerland-based digital magazine and portal for those interested in space and the far-reaching impact of the space sector.
To listen to Alessio Grasso’s insights, you can watch the full program here:

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