Virgin Galactic and the Italian Space Agency have signed an collaboration agreement on the 18th of December 2017. According to it the Italian Space Agency will conduct the Virgin Galactic space flight which will include a suborbital space research using the Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. The space ship will be launched from the Spaceport America.
It is important to know that the Italian Space Agency is going to become the first international agency – after NASA – to manage the Virgin Galactic space flight.
The Italian partner
The role of the Italian Space Agency is basically the same as the one of NASA. It is a national space agency and it manages the national investments and other activities in the space sector. The Italian Space agency reports to the Italian government, exactly the way NASA does in the USA.
Virgin Galactic space flight: the mission
The space flight is scheduled for the 2019. At the beginning of the next year the Italian Space Agency will start working on the preparation to the space mission from the spaceport located in New Mexico.
The Italian scientists will carry out a research from the American space ship. They will conduct suborbital experiments and send up a payload specialist which will be previously trained by the Italian specialists.
A win-win agreement
The both partners have expressed excitement about the signed agreement. George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic CEO, said he and his staff is honoured to work with the Italian partners. “This mission will serve as a pathfinder for exciting future collaborations with the Italian Space Agency”, – said Whitesides in his statement.
The president of the Italian Space Agency, Roberto Battiston, stated that “The Virgin Galactic suborbital flight will provide several minutes of microgravity, ideal conditions to develop and test payloads such as those which will operate for months”.