Phase 2 of STEPS Program Kicks Off Systems and Technologies for Space Exploration

After the excellent results achieved in phase 1, the Piedmont region has given the go-ahead for phase 2 of STEPS* (Systems and Technologies for Space Exploration), the R&D program dedicated to space exploration technologies that aims to promote world-class technological excellence in the Piedmont region of Italy.

The STEPS program has a total budget of 10 million euros, and is co-funded by the Piedmont region and the European Union. It aims to improve space exploration technologies with potential terrestrial applications. Thales Alenia Space Italy is leading the program consortium, which includes the Politecnico di Torino, the University of Eastern Piedmont, the Altec center, two international corporations and 17 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from the Piedmont aerospace industry.

Since being launched in 2008, this innovative project has allowed a number of scientists and engineers, both young graduates and seasoned experts, to investigate promising technologies for space exploration, widely acknowledged as vital to the future of humanity.
STEPS 2 earned a green light because of the excellent results achieved in phase 1. Researchers will continue working on all facets of space exploration, perhaps making it possible for people to colonize new worlds where we can live and work.

STEPS 2 focuses on completing the technological developments that began in the first phase of STEPS. It will also maximize the use of the infrastructures and skills developed in the first phase to support the development of new programs and increase employment in the region.

This project is part of the company’s space exploration activities, that aim to support the development of technologies specifically needed for robotic missions to the Moon and Mars, along with technology demonstrations on the International Space Station and manned and unmanned reentry systems.

Both participants and sponsors are very satisfied with the results to date. The project is also being closely followed by other actors in the international space industry, including the European Space Agency (ESA), which has issued a positive assessment of its technical content and the innovation model that focuses on open, dynamic collaboration between local authorities, industry and academia.

* STEPS: Sistemi  e Tecnologie per l' EsPlorazione Spaziale

Source: Thales Group (Paris: HO.PA)
Date: Mar 21, 2013