Italy Advances Space Exploration with New Private Sector Framework Law

Italy from space

Table of Contents

Insider Brief:

  • Italy’s Council of Ministers has approved its first comprehensive framework law on space and the space economy.
  • The new regulations mandate that both national and foreign operators who wish to conduct space activities from Italian territory must obtain proper authorization and require operators to secure insurance coverage of up to €100 million per space incident.
  • The Italian Space Agency will play a pivotal role in ensuring compliance with the new law, overseeing the registration of space objects launched from Italy and has the authority to revoke authorizations from non-compliant operators.
  • The new law also introduces the National Plan for the Space Economy, including a Space Economy Fund designed to support market innovation through public and private investments.

 

Italy’s Council of Ministers has approved its first comprehensive framework law on space and the space economy. Minister of Business and “Made in Italy” Adolfo Urso announced on June 20 that the new law aims to address regulatory gaps and create a structured roadmap for private sector access to space.

This legislation, closely linked to the budget bill, mandates that both national and foreign operators who wish to conduct space activities from Italian territory must obtain proper authorization. It also extends its regulatory reach to national operators looking to conduct business from abroad. One crucial aspect of the new regulations includes a requirement for operators to secure insurance coverage of up to €100 million per space incident, with provisions for lower caps in cases of reduced risk.

The Italian Space Agency (ASI) will play a pivotal role in ensuring compliance with the new law. ASI will oversee the registration of space objects launched from Italy and has the authority to revoke authorizations from non-compliant operators in an effort to maintain high standards of operational safety and reliability within the Italian space sector.

Beyond regulatory measures, the law introduces a National Plan for the Space Economy. This five-year strategy will identify sector needs and highlight investment opportunities to foster growth in space-based products and services. The plan includes a Space Economy Fund designed to support market innovation through public and private investments. However, the specific size of this fund has not yet been disclosed.

The framework also provides special provisions to assist small and medium-sized enterprises and startups in accessing public contracts, thereby encouraging innovation and competition within the space industry. Additionally, the law will optimize the use of satellite communication spectrum and establish principles for managing space infrastructures funded by state and European Union resources.

Italy has allocated approximately €7.3 billion for its space programs through 2026. This includes a €3.1 billion contribution to the European Space Agency (ESA) and €2.3 billion for ASI. With this substantial investment and a new regulatory framework, Italy is positioning itself as a serious contender in the rapidly evolving global space industry.

Image credit: ESA

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