Fostering multidisciplinary research for the future of space

Annual event of the Space Economy Evolution - SEE Lab

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SEE Lab is the SDA Bocconi research laboratory that aims to give space-oriented businesses, non-space enterprises, financial operators and public actors in-depth understanding and strategic insights so that they can leverage the opportunities presented by the evolution of the space economy. SEE Lab was founded in 2018 at SDA Bocconi by Professor Andrea Sommariva, who was inspired by Professor Nanni Bignami, in partnership with the founding members Space Alliance (Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio), Sitael and AVIO.

In 2022, SEE Lab welcomed Simonetta Di Pippo, astrophysicist and former director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Activities (UNOOSA), as its new director and two new members: Capgemini and D-Orbit. This growing membership is another key milestone on the road to an ever stronger network, which will open up exciting new horizons for SEE Lab and SDA Bocconi. The Lab acts as an independent, multidisciplinary research center in the space sector, delivering strategic insights that private companies and public institutions can use to gauge new opportunities in the sector.  

SEE Lab is committed to educating future leaders using an out-of-the-box mindset by generating and disseminating in-depth knowledge on key aspects of the space economy, in the short, medium and long term at a global level. SEE Lab aims to continue carrying out cutting-edge research, while expanding to become a center of excellence at a national, regional and global level.

The event “FOSTERING MULTIDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH FOR THE FUTURE OF SPACE” was held to celebrate Andrea Sommariva’s immense contribution to space economy research and to welcome the new director Simonetta Di Pippo, who launched the Lab’s future program. Guest and keynote speakers included President Mario Monti and Minister Vittorio Colao.

“Our challenge is the quality of political leadership. Leaders should be tellers of hard truths, be bold and not fear to be advised. Now it is almost the opposite of how leadership is interpreted, being based mostly on the research of consent on social media, in a short term. Space on the other hand is linked to a long term vision,” said President Mario Monti.

“The challenges are based on three aspects that are very important not only to preserve our society but also to improve and to develop it further. The first one is cooperation among European partners and cooperation with international ones. We don’t want anyone to create exclusive monopolies or dominance in space.” added Minister Vittorio Colao. “The second is the capability of disseminating knowledge, explaining space to non-space industries and putting it in people’s heart. And finally governance. We all know that there are debris objects that float around, we need to manage this situation in a peaceful way, with a coordinated and joint governance effort to avoid accidents wicht potentially could destroy space economy”

Panelists summarized Prof. Sommariva’s vision for the future of the space sector in a concise overview of his research studies. More specifically, speakers discussed not only their joint work with Prof. Sommariva, but also inspiring debates on the future of space, emphasizing how multidisciplinary research can address the opportunities and challenges that exist for the future development of the space industry.

The audience learned the importance of cross-disciplinary collaboration in supporting decision-makers in the space sector. We were given concrete examples of their work with SEE Lab, especially the strategic actions that could shape the future of space and how research can support both space and non-space industries.

Simonetta Di Pippo highlighted key steps for the future, aiming to strengthen SEE Lab’s positioning as a national, regional and global center of excellence in the space economy.

“Despite all the different opportunities around the world, I’ve seen in the SEE Lab the singularity I was looking for in the international context for the exploration of the issues within the space economy,” she said. “Let’s think about the economy of the future, let’s do it all together, let’s not forget that whatever future is not possible without the past.”

The future is bright and the challenges are many. SEE Lab will keep exploring Space-for-Earth and Space-for-Space activities by aiming to:

  • provide knowledge on space economics and business to space-related private corporations and public institutions;
  • introduce non-space enterprises and financial operators to the opportunities provided by the space economy, in order to establish common ground with the space industry;
  • become a meeting place for academics and research centers to share knowledge on market, political, financial and technological factors affecting the space economy;
  • become a global center of excellence and reference point for entrepreneurs and policy makers in the space sector



SDA Bocconi School of Management

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