Italy is ready to return to orbit with the Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus NG-19 space cargo module. The launch of this unmanned pressurized module, manufactured at the Thales Alenia Space facilities in Turin, was scheduled for this month of May with an Antares 230+ carrier from the Wallops Island base in Virginia (USA), but has been postponed to July due to delays accumulated from other NASA launches.
This mission will take place exactly 40 years after the November 1983 space flight of “Spacelab 1”, the first European space laboratory built by the then Aeritalia also in Turin, which inaugurated the “Made in Italy” pressurized module trend used today on the International Space Station, soon on the first commercial station Axiom, and in the near future, also for the Artemis lunar mission.
Paolo Nespoli at Fly Future 2023
The anniversary of Spacelab 1 will be celebrated during Fly Future 2023, the second edition of the orientation event for young people who intend to work in the aviation and space sector, which will take place on May 23 and 24 at the European University of Rome.
The Cygnus NG-19 space cargo will carry approximately 3.7 tons of experiments and supplies to the astronauts on the International Space Station. After arriving in orbit, the module will be “captured” using a robotic arm and then attached to a hatch on the Station.
“For the astronauts on board, the arrival of this module is like receiving gifts from Earth, there is so much anticipation but also a bit of apprehension for the delicate attachment phase”,
recalls astronaut Paolo Nespoli, who spent over 313 days in space and who in 2017 was responsible for the recovery of a Cygnus module.
During Fly Future 2023, Nespoli will participate in the conference “Working in Space. Italian Projects from the Spacelab 1 laboratory to orbiting stations up to the Moon”, together with executives from the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and Thales Alenia Space.
“I remember that I was a little worried about being able to attach the Cygnus module with the robotic arm, also because it is not technically very simple and in a previous mission, a fellow astronaut had some problems. But in the end, everything went well, and we had to unload this big “space truck” and place each material in the designated place aboard the Station”.—Paolo Nespoli, ESA Italian Astronaut
Space Events at Fly Future 2023
The Fly Future 2023 program includes two other events dedicated to space enthusiasts.
First, the company Avio will present the prospects of Vega, the family of launchers for the transport of light loads into low orbit.
Furthermore, for the first time, all the main Italian space outreach associations will participate in a roundtable to present their activities and initiate collaborations: representatives of BIS Italia, ISAA, ASIMOF, School of Astronautics, SASA, Polispace, SEDS Italy, AMSAT Italia, Involve Space, Astrospace, Space Voyaging will attend this meeting.
Over the two days of Fly Future 2023, a total of about 25 conferences, lectures, and roundtables are planned, with the participation of civilian and military pilots, astronauts, flight school and training institute managers, executives of agencies, airlines, and specialized companies.
See you there!