SEE Lab – Space Economy Evolution

What is the Space Economy
The OECD defines space economy as “the full range of activities and uses of resources that create value and benefits to human beings in the course of exploring, researching, managing, and utilizing space”. It originated in the early 1970s and has since been growing rapidly. It is a mixed economy, with governments participating through space agencies and military programs, while the private sector activities center on low earth orbit (LEO) for Earth’s observation and geosynchronous orbit (GEO) for telecommunications and other services.

Over the last decade, global issues such as population changes and their pressure on critical or limited natural resources have fostered the emergence of several private initiatives that promote the expansion of a space economy beyond earth orbit. Furthermore, space and technological innovations are more easily accessible thanks to a downward pressure on launch prices, and space agencies’ exploration programs of the solar system will provide an initial in space market in terms of oxygen, water, hydrogen, and some metals. Space economy will quickly evolve beyond Earth’s orbit.

Why Space Economy Matters
Space economy creates an opportunity to transform space activity from consumption of resources into source of value.

Economic benefits:

  • Technological innovations;
  • Efficiencies generated by private sector activities in space;
  • Consumer welfare effects measured by the benefits to consumers beyond the value they paid for those products and services;
  • International collaboration in space stimulating the development of new technologies, and industrial and global collaboration by bringing together international flight crews, multiple launch vehicles, globally-distributed launch operations, training, engineering, and facilities; communications networks; and the international scientific community.

Political benefits:

  • Economic growth and employment;
  • World political stability.

The SEE Lab is a multidisciplinary center for the study of the space economy, considering the interplay between its technical and financial aspects. Capitalizing on the expertise of academic and industrial partners, it provides a forum to develop new ideas and to foster a better understanding of the global market linked to this evolving economy, and the rapidly accelerating technologies enabling it.



Objectives and Activities

The SEE Lab is a global community that uses innovative strategies to tackle the challenges posed by the evolution of space economy. Our learning and innovation platform serves our sponsors with a range of products to empower individuals and organizations with the mindset, skill-set, and network to understand and build breakthrough solutions leveraging on rapidly accelerating technologies.

Examples of such areas of research and analysis are: 

Technological innovations, among others: new propulsion systems, 3D printing in micro-gravity, robotics, artificial intelligence, space mining equipment, communications, and protection from cosmic radiations;
Technological innovations road map;
Companies’ international strategies for global expansion;
Feasibility studies of space business models;
Risk management of space operations.

Services and Advantages

Why Join

Joining the SEE Lab is a unique opportunity to be part of an international think tank, to receive actionable intelligence from our activities, and to contribute critically to important research. The SEE Lab platform blends solid academic methodology with pragmatic executive experience. It brings together economic, managerial, and strategic expertise with a broad spectrum of scientists and engineers for the designing and implementation of different projects. The SEE Lab also provides opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to actively participate in innovative research and learning.

Exclusive Services

The SEE Lab offers its sponsors yearlong research selected from a broad catalogue. It will include, among others:

  • Research on LEO and GEO economy, examining economic rationale and policies to support their growth;
  • Innovation technologies for the growth of LEO and GEO economy;
  • Research on the economic rationale of space mining;
  • Cutting edge technologies for space mining;
  • Roadblocks to space mining and possible solutions;
  • Research on the interactions between space agencies and private companies;
  • Strategies for companies’ global expansion.

Solid academic standards will characterize the yearly research program, which will also focus on the sponsors’ research questions and the production of innovative insights.

Custom Services
The SEE Lab will provide a set of customized services and research formats addressing the needs of specific customers and sponsor. These will include, among others:
  • Development of space business models;
  • Feasibility Studies;
  • Researchers on specific space operations;
  • Risk management of specific space operations;
  • Strategies for the global expansion of specific customers and sponsors.

Material And Events


The SEE Lab intends to organize a yearly event, starting with an initial event in June 2018 on the evolution of the space economy and the opportunities and challenges for the European space industry.
We will also organize periodic events to monitor the evolution of the situation.


The SEE Lab will publish its research reports. Of these, the ones that meet academic standards will be published as books after a period of exclusive rights of the sponsors. The SEE Lab will also contribute a number of articles, based on its research, to leading national and international journals.


We will share the following material with our sponsors:

  • Background sources;
  • White papers;
  • Events and workshops;
  • Industry insights.

Research Team

Head: Andrea Sommariva
Andrea Sommariva is an international economist. He graduated in economics from Bocconi University in Milan, and studied at the University of Leuven in Belgium and the University of Indiana in the United States. He is a member of the study group "Space Mineral Resources - Challenges and Opportunities" of the International Academy of Astronautics. In the past, he served as an economist at the International Monetary Fund, Economic Advisor to the Minister of the Budget in Rome, Chief Economist at Montedison, and Senior Financial Advisor at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He has worked in academia as an associate professor at the University LUISS of Rome, the Catholic University of Milan, the China-Europe Management Institute in Beijing, and SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan.

Scientific Commitee (Initial)
Patrizia Caraveo
, Research Director INAF, Milan
Gianluigi Castelli, Associate Professor of Practice at SDA Bocconi and Director of DEVO Lab
Giancarlo Genta, Professor of Machine Design and Construction, Polytechnic of Turin
Severino Meregalli, Associate Professor of Practice at SDA Bocconi and Scientific Coordinator of DEVO Lab

Dedicated researchers:
Mattia Pianorsi, Reasearch Fellow of Banking and Insurance at SDA Bocconi


In the press

2018 - 18th June 2018
La nueva conquista del espacio, en manos de los multimillonarios de Silicon Valley
«En Milán acaba de ver la luz el Laboratorio de Evolución de la Economía Espacial (SEE Lab)» >>Read More (in Spanish) - 15th June 2018
A milestone in securing ESA's future role in the global exploration of space
«Over the past 18 months, ESA and its Member States have gathered in a series of space exploration workshops culminating in a discussion in the ESA Council held in Paris on 13 June 2018...» >>Read More - 9th June 2018
La corsa all’economia dello spazio. L’Europa punta 16 miliardi
«La Commissione europea propone di aumentare il budget per l’economia dello spazio. Obiettivo: salvaguardare l’industria locale e la competitività nel campo dei satelliti...» >>Read More (in Italian) - 7th June 2018
La frontiera. L'economia dello spazio costruisce basi in Europa
«Un'industria che vale 350 miliardi di dollari. Imprese italiane e Asi si mettono in prima fila. La Bocconi apre un centro di ricerca dedicato» >>Read More (in Italian) -
4th June 2018
Nasce alla Bocconi il laboratorio per studiare l'economia spaziale
«Tra satelliti, ricerca di minerali su Luna e asteroidi e turismo spaziale un giro d'affari miliardario in rapida espansione...» >>Read More (in Italian) -
4th June 2018
L'economia dello spazio con il 'SEE LAB' della Bocconi
«Per studiare l’economia dello spazio, ovvero le ricadute economiche delle attività spaziali, è nato presso SDA Bocconi School of Management un centro di ricerca dedicato: il “See Lab”...» >>Read More (in Italian) - 5th June 2018
La Bocconi si lancia sull'economia spaziale
«Presentato il centro studi dedicato a un mercato da trecentocinquanta miliardi di euro» >>Read More (in Italian) - 5th June 2018
Se lanzó el laboratorio SEE en SDA Bocconi para estudiar la economía espacial
«SEE Lab estudiará dos campos de investigación exclusivos de la economía espacial» >>Read More (in Spanish) - 28th May 2018
Alla Bocconi si studierà l'economia dello spazio
«Il nuovo Space economy evolution Lab (See Lab) di Sda Bocconi School of Management sarà diretto da Andrea Sommariva. Il 4 giugno la presentazione» >>Read More (in Italian)



fine cassetto


Building the Future of the Space Economy Following Giovanni Bignami Vision:

«Science and technology define the limits of what is possible. The realization of the possible depends on the economic and political benefits to human beings here on Earth»



SEE Lab – Space Economy Evolution
tel. 02 5836 3546