Italy, as well as many other countries, has increasing interest in Commercial Space Transportation and in particular, in suborbital flights. A suborbital space transportation system is an opportunity to involve the Italian industry in the development of new technologies, exploit opportunities of microgravity experimentation and pilots/astronauts training, as well as catalyse the national industry. The central position of Italy in the Mediterranean basin, the generically favourable climate condition, the touristic vocation resulting in hospitality at the highest level, pretty much allow year round suborbital operations and unique customer experience. Consequently, Italy appears to be a suitable location to host a Spaceport, even though the density of population has to be factored in as a key aspect, together with a proper environmental assessment. This paper outlines the current Italian approach that, instead of focusing on the development of new Spaceport from scratch, evaluates the capabilities of existing airports and their possible upgrades to achieve the Spaceport license, when a proper regulatory frame is established. Advances in the technical activities that are being conducted to assess various Italian sites of interest are described, including trade off methodologies and ranking criteria. Different aspects are considered, from the availability of civil and military airports, to the identification of the best location between coastline or inland sites but, first of all, in compliance to the safety requirements. Some specific Spaceport infrastructure and operational aspects are described, along with their integration with the already existing ones. These include hangars, propellant storage facilities, ground support equipment, high and low airspace surrounding the airport area, ascent and descent corridors, as well as tracking telemetry station to support specific mission profiles in integrated fashion with the existing airport infrastructure and air traffic. The paper will also describe the approach to the definition of a harmonized cooperative regulatory framework, according to the Aviation Authority, that represents the basis to assess suborbital operations and allows the relevant missions execution. In this activity, basing upon an established Memorandum of Cooperation between FAA, ENAC and the Italian Space Agency, the existing FAA/AST regulatory work frame is considered as reference benchmark and further tailored to the Italian case. Some considerations will also be developed relevant to initial challenges to be faced, by interested stakeholders, in starting commercial spaceflight initiatives as a new ground and emerging business opportunity.
Spaceport and Ground Segment assessment for enabling operations of suborbital transportation systems in the Italian territory / Santoro, F.; Del Bianco, A.; Viola, N.; Fusaro, R.; Albino, V.; Binetti, M.; Marzioli, P.. - In: ACTA ASTRONAUTICA. - ISSN 0094-5765. - 152(2018), pp. 396-407.
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|Titolo:||Spaceport and Ground Segment assessment for enabling operations of suborbital transportation systems in the Italian territory|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2018|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actaastro.2018.08.014|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|
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