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| 2023 EU DRUG MARKETS ANALYSIS FROM THE EMCDDA AND EUROPOL

© emcdda.europa.eu

New analysis highlights greater diversity of cannabis products, rising potency, and security risks posed by Europe’s largest illicit drug market 

Cannabis products are becoming increasingly potent and diverse, while collaboration between criminal groups is creating new security risks in Europe. These are among the conclusions of a new analysis — EU Drug Market: Cannabis — released by the EMCDDA and Europol.

The analysis describes the illegal European market for cannabis products, from production and trafficking to distribution and use. It also details the processes, materials and criminal actors involved at different stages and levels of the market.

Estimated to be worth at least EUR 11.4 billion annually, the cannabis market is the largest drug market in Europe. Latest estimates show that some 22.6 million adults in the EU (15-64 years) have used cannabis in the last year. In 2021, seized quantities of herbal cannabis and cannabis resin in the EU reached their highest levels in a decade, at 256 tonnes and 816 tonnes respectively. In addition, over 4.3 million cannabis plants were intercepted.

Most of the herbal cannabis found in the EU appears to be grown locally. The Western Balkan region remains a source, albeit less so than in the past. Some cannabis products, including herbal cannabis, are now smuggled into the EU from North America. As for cannabis resin, Morocco is still the largest supplier to Europe, but there are signs that resin production within the EU may be on the rise.

Latest data reveal a significant increase in the potency of cannabis products. The average potency of herbal cannabis in the EU rose by about 57 % between 2011 and 2021, while the average potency of cannabis resin increased by nearly 200 % in the same period, raising additional health concerns for users.

EMCDDA Director Alexis Goosdeel says: ‘Cannabis continues to divide public opinion and remains the subject of European and international debate. Today’s analysis looks at the elements needed to support evidence-based policymaking and preparedness in this complex domain, where the scope of cannabis policies is widening and where products are becoming increasingly potent and diverse. Our new findings come at a time when decision-makers must address a vast array of challenges posed by Europe’s largest illicit drug market, from the heavy carbon footprint left by cannabis cultivation, to health harms, corruption and violence on our streets’.

Europol’s Executive Director Catherine De Bolle states: ‘Cocaine seizures might be grabbing the headlines, but trafficking of cannabis is just as important a threat. The cannabis trade yields a staggering EUR 11.4 billion annually, which is still a minimum estimated value of the market. In addition to the impact on public health, the substantial illegal proceeds criminal networks obtain from trafficking cannabis fuel dire consequences — criminals increasingly veer into extreme violence to further their criminal goals and use these proceeds to fund other criminal activities and infiltrate economies and societies. This is just one of the reasons why our fight against criminal networks involved in cannabis trafficking should go hand in hand with efforts to mitigate the associated societal harms’.

| EUROPEAN HYPERSONIC DEFENCE INTERCEPTOR TAKES OFF

The EU HYDEF project, which focuses on a concept definition for a European interceptor is supported with EUR 100 million from the European Defence Fund (EDF).

The threat spectrum is rapidly evolving and also in the context of hypersonic attack missiles. A truly European interceptor capability would lead to an enhanced protection of the European territory and its citizens as well as potential areas of conflict and crises in which Europe would operate. Additionally, such a European interceptor capability would contribute to NATO making it more resilient.

A well-balanced consortium, including 14 industrial partners, will study for the next 36 months different key aspects of the system of systems like the concept of operations, system requirements and interfaces, and the interceptor such as propulsion, guidance navigation and control, communications, aerodynamics, and effectors.

The European Commission has entrusted the management of this project to the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) which, on 31 October 2023, signed with SMS – SISTEMAS DE MISILES DE ESPAÑA SL, as consortium coordinator, a Grant Agreement amounting to EUR 100 million from the EDF and, in parallel, an associated Linked Procurement Contract worth EUR 10 million on behalf of the EU HYDEF Participating States (i.e., Belgium, Germany, Norway, Poland and Spain).

| DRONES TO TRANSPORT PERSONNEL AND MATERIALS TO OFFSHORE WIND FARMS

Unmanned DLR superARTIS helicopter flying over a wind turbine © DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Maintenance teams and materials have to travel long distances to reach offshore wind turbines. Can drones take over transport tasks and relieve maintenance personnel? The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is investigating the possibilities and requirements together with the energy supplier Energie Baden-Württemberg AG (EnBW). In this context, an unmanned DLR small helicopter has now flown to a wind turbine and automatically communicated with it. Seven commercial drone manufacturers will follow up on the findings to further advance the technology developed at DLR. To this end, DLR and EnBW are organising the ‘Offshore Drone Challenge’ (ODC) in June 2024 at the National Experimental Test Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Cochstedt.

The wake turbulence of wind turbines can strongly affect drones. The drone requires a lot of power to compensate for the air turbulence. “For automated use in a wind farm, the drone must therefore exchange information with the turbines,” says Sebastian Cain from the DLR Institute of Flight Systems, which is leading the project. It is important that the drone and the wind turbine ‘understand’ each other well. “The drone needs to find the optimum route autonomously. To do this, it needs data from the turbines and wind turbines may have to be stopped so that the drone can reach its destination safely.” The interruption in turbine operation – and thus in power generation – needs to be as short as possible.

Communication between wind farm system and superARTIS successfully demonstrated

At the beginning of October 2023, the unmanned DLR small helicopter superARTIS took off at the EnBW wind farm in Schwienau (Lower Saxony). superARTIS included information on the operating status of the individual wind turbines, weather information and wake turbulence in the calculation of its flightpath. By means of communications interfaces, the aircraft announced its arrival at a wind turbine. A simulated control room approved the approach, and the controlled wind turbine was stopped. The aircraft was able to approach without danger. The turbine was then reactivated. Had the drone not received clearance, it would have automatically entered a holding pattern. For a realistic scenario, the researchers attached a payload to the aircraft. The test did not take place offshore but on land, to make it safer and easier to conduct the experiments. “However, the results can be transferred to offshore installations. The communication between the flying vehicle and the turbine was conceptualised for offshore operation and is being studied in simulations for this purpose,” explains Sebastien Cain.

The flight test was an important intermediate step in the ‘Upcoming Drones Windfarm’ (UDW) project organised by DLR and EnBW. The aim of the project is to find out the conditions and necessary steps for the realisation of drone operations, initially for the transport of materials, and subsequently also for passenger transport. The project also includes the ‘Offshore Drone Challenge’ (ODC), where drone manufacturers and service providers will present suitable solutions. The stakeholders will be able to benefit from the current research results. Companies Anavia, Flowcopter, Flying Basket, HyFly, NEXaero, Unmanned Helicopters and Volocopter were selected and will now present their technologies in Cochstedt during June 2024.

“We will see several firsts in terms of the number and size of the aircraft,” says Sebastian Cain. “In addition, they will all contribute to making the Offshore Drone Challenge a venue for drone demonstrations. It will also create a space for an exchange on technology, business and regulatory matters.”

The Challenge in Cochstedt will focus on testing flight manoeuvres that are relevant to the operation and maintenance logistics for offshore wind farms. This includes software topics as well as design modifications to connect the ‘drone’ and ‘wind farm’ systems. The Challenge will be carried out on land, as this is significantly safer, simpler and more cost-effective than the subsequent application at sea. The seven drone manufacturers and service providers will be able put their technologies to the test during the Challenge, which will be held over two days. The various stages include tasks such as picking up and setting down a load as automatically as possible or flying beyond line of sight.

| ECHA’S INVESTIGATION FINDS TOXIC CHEMICALS PRESENT IN CHILDCARE PRODUCTS

© Wikicommons

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has found that substances causing cancer, genetic mutations or harming reproduction are present in childcare products, such as car seats, bibs and baby changing mats. Its investigation will help the European Commission to prepare an EU-wide restriction to limit these chemicals, with the aim of safeguarding children.

ECHA’s investigation, drawing on information from 48 different sources, shows that substances which are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction (CMR) may be present in childcare products (articles). Metals like cobalt and lead, along with phthalates like DEHP, are the most common CMR substances found in childcare products.

CMRs were most often found in items like car seats, bibs, products related to toiletries, and bedding and mattresses. Children may be exposed to these hazardous substances during use, for example through skin or oral contact, and are particularly vulnerable to the harm caused by chemical substances because of their small size, developing physiology and behaviour.

ECHA’s report provides elements to support the European Commission in the preparation of a potential future restriction. These include information on how childcare articles are defined, what the restriction could cover, potential derogations, recommended concentration limits and timeframes for implementation. The report also includes views from ECHA’s Enforcement Forum on how feasible it would be to enforce such a restriction.

The report will now be sent to the European Commission, who will use it to prepare a draft restriction proposal under REACH Article 68(2). This procedure allows the Commission to prepare a restriction proposal without involvement of ECHA’s scientific committees.

Background

The purpose of ECHA’s investigation is to support the European Commission in preparing a restriction under the REACH Regulation to protect children from exposure to CMR substances in childcare articles. It focused on substances that have a harmonised classification under the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation as a CMR in category 1A (known human carcinogen, mutagen or reproductive toxicant) or 1B (presumed human carcinogen, mutagen or reproductive toxicant).

During the investigation, ECHA organised two public calls for evidence and a consultation on the draft report. The Agency contacted 233 different stakeholders to inform about the work and considered their feedback.

| OLYMPICS 2024 SECURITY TOPPED UP

Special European police units from different countries © Bundespolizei

Europol has signed an agreement with France to support the host country of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in strengthening security at this major global event. With this agreement, Europol will further facilitate operational information exchange and international law enforcement cooperation during the games. 

The agreement covers several important arrangements designed to ensure the security and success of the event. This includes increasing operational preparedness, developing special channels for swift cooperation during the event, and enhancing strategic foresight to anticipate and confront complex situations quickly and efficiently.

During the event, Europol will deploy a special team to assist with security arrangements at the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Europol’s experts will work in close cooperation with the Central Section for Operational Police Cooperation (SCCOPOL) of the Department for International Operational Cooperation within the French Ministry of the Interior, as well as with experts from INTERPOL also specially deployed to step up security at the event.

Law enforcement cooperation is crucial for ensuring safety at major international events. Europol’s Operational Centre has provided support to a number of major international events, including the G20 Summit in Germany (2017), the G7 Summit in Taormina, Italy (2017), Amsterdam Gay Pride (2017), the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship, the FIFA World Cup 2022 and the Rugby World Cup 2023 in France. The Operational Centre manages the constant flow of data between Europol and its partners on a 24/7 basis, making it the gateway of all operational information and intelligence channelled through the Agency.

| FDA GRANTS MARKETING AUTHORIZATION OF FIRST TEST FOR CHLAMYDIA AND GONORRHEA WITH AT-HOME SAMPLE COLLECTION

© Letsgetchecked.com
The decision opens the Pathway for Other Tests for These Infections with At-Home Sample Collection

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted marketing authorization to LetsGetChecked for the Simple 2 Test. This is the first diagnostic test for chlamydia and gonorrhea with at-home sample collection to be granted marketing authorization. Prior to today’s authorization, the only cleared tests for either condition were used with samples collected at the point of care, such as a doctor’s office. The Simple 2 Test is available over-the-counter (OTC) and is intended for use in adult patients ages 18 years and older. It is the first FDA-authorized test with at-home sample collection for any sexually-transmitted disease other than HIV.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Sexually Transmitted Infections Surveillance Report, chlamydia and gonorrhea are the first and second most common bacterial sexually transmitted infections (STI) in the United States, and the rate of these STIs is steadily increasing, with an estimated 1.6 million cases of chlamydia and more than 700,000 cases of gonorrhea, in 2021 alone. Typically, both infections can be easily treated, but if left untreated, both infections can cause serious health complications for patients, including infertility. Expanding the availability of STI testing can help patients get quicker results and access to the most appropriate treatment, ultimately helping to curb the rising rates of STIs.

The Simple 2 Test which uses vaginal swabs or urine specimens, as appropriate, can detect the presence of the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which cause chlamydia and gonorrhea, respectively. The test is a direct-to-consumer test that can be purchased without a prescription. The user activates the collection kit online and fills out a health questionnaire for a health care provider to evaluate. The individual collects the specimen at home using the provided collection kit, which is then sent back to the designated laboratory for testing. Results are delivered online, with follow-up from a health care provider in cases of positive or invalid test results.

The Simple 2 Test includes the Simple 2 Home Collection Kits that were validated for use with the cleared Hologic Aptima 2 Combo Assay. The FDA also evaluated data from LetsGetChecked demonstrating lay users can safely use the kit and have a general understanding of the results and any necessary follow up actions and validated their home collection kits with the intended test.

The risks associated with the test are mainly the possibility of false positive and false negative test results. False negative test results can result in delays to effective treatment, progression to disseminated disease, and spread of infection to other persons throughout your community. If exposed to a person with either gonorrhea or chlamydia, CDC guidelines indicate that you should be treated by a healthcare provider with antibiotics, regardless of the test result. False positive results could lead to an inappropriate diagnosis of, and unnecessary treatment for chlamydia and gonorrhea, respectively. This could lead to psychological distress, delay in receiving a correct diagnosis as well as the expense and risk for side effects from unnecessary treatment.

The FDA reviewed the Simple 2 Test under the FDA’s De Novo premarket review pathway, a regulatory pathway for low- to moderate-risk devices of a new type. Along with this De Novo authorization, the FDA is establishing special controls that define the requirements related to labeling and performance testing. When met, the special controls, in combination with general controls, provide a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness for tests of this type. This action creates a new regulatory classification, which means that subsequent devices of the same type with the same intended use may go through FDA’s 510(k) premarket process, whereby devices can obtain marketing authorization by demonstrating substantial equivalence to a predicate device, which may save a developer time and expense compared to other review pathways.

| IAEA AND ICAO TO ENHANCE COOPERATION ON TRANSPORT OF VITAL RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS

© IAEA.org

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have agreed to enhance their cooperation around the transport of radioactive materials by air, notably to improve the efficiency and speed of these shipments that are vital for cancer care and other medical uses around the world.

In a joint statement, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi and ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar underscored that the agreement also “highlights the importance of adherence to the IAEA safety standards for the safe use of radioactive materials and to ICAO standards for global civil aviation safety and security.”

The agreement builds on the cooperation between both UN bodies on matters of common interest that began in 1960.

Nuclear medicine is based on access to radiopharmaceuticals for a variety of diagnostic uses and specific therapies. Getting radiopharmaceuticals from the manufacturer to hospitals and medical clinics depends on fast and reliable transport, including by air. Over 10,000 hospitals worldwide use radioisotopes in medicine, mostly for diagnosis.

“The IAEA’s role in ensuring the safe transport of radioactive material by air is essential in the carriage of short-lived radiopharmaceuticals and other crucial radioactive materials,” remarked ICAO Secretary General Salazar. “ICAO welcomes the heightening of our collaboration in this vitally important area of mutual interest.”

IAEA Director General Grossi said: “It is very important that the work the IAEA and ICAO undertake in developing and strengthening the implementation of international standards is complementary. The IAEA greatly values ICAO’s long-standing contribution to the development and review of IAEA safety standards. We can work even more closely together in other areas of common interest, such as in reducing denials of, and delays in, shipment of radioactive material by air.”

The agreement encompasses the development and review of relevant IAEA safety standards and the harmonization of best practices globally, with the IAEA and ICAO collaborating to collect and analyse associated information.

Raising stakeholder awareness through education, training, and outreach are also foreseen, including around emergency preparedness.

Radiation research and information exchange towards radiation protection in civil aviation, especially regarding cosmic radiation exposure to flight crews, is a further focus of the agreement.

The joint statement highlights that the “stronger mutual cooperation will create a conducive environment for countries to harness the benefits of the peaceful uses of nuclear technology in meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” and helps set the stage for deeper collaboration in the near future.

| NCI Agency participates in NATO’s largest and most complex computer-based exercise

Recently, Exercise Steadfast Jupiter tested the Alliance’s proficiency and readiness to respond to threats on land, at sea, in the air, in space or in cyberspace.

Steadfast Jupiter is NATO’s most ambitious, complex and largest computer-based exercise, designed to train and evaluate 24 different NATO Command and Force Structure Headquarters. The exercise took place in 27 different locations across Europe and North America, and saw the participation of nearly 7,000 civilian and military personnel from 17 NATO and partner countries.

The exercise provided an excellent opportunity to test NATO’s responsiveness, command and control, and defence posture in a highly challenging multi-threat environment. It also demonstrated NATO’s capability and readiness to defend the Alliance and train NATO’s warfighting skillsets, using a multi-domain, multi-joint operational area scenario based on an Article 5 crisis simulation.

The NCI Agency (NATO Communications and Information Agency) supported the exercise from eight different locations through its CIS Support Units (CSUs). The Agency’s CSUs provide onsite support to NATO and NATO countries to ensure all communication networks remain operational and secure. For Steadfast Jupiter 2023, Agency experts provided participants with support from Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Moreover, nearly 100 NCI Agency service matter experts provided dedicated support from the Agency’s headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands and Mons and Braine l’Alleud, Belgium.

Sponsored by Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) and directed by the Joint Warfare Centre (JWC), this exercise is designed to reinforce NATO’s deterrence and defence posture, providing a unique opportunity to demonstrate the Alliance’s commitment to the principle of collective defence.

| STOLEN 300-YEAR-OLD PAINTING RETURNED TO GERMAN MUSEUM BY THE FBI

Landschaft italienischen Charakters” (Landscape of Italian Character) by the Austrian painter Johann Franz Nepomuk Lauterer © Fbi

The odyssey of a small painting through history – from Bavaria to Chicago (and back):

From left: FBI Chicago Special Agent Timothy O’Brien; FBI Chicago Special Agent David White; Dr. Bernd Ebert, head of the Dutch and German Baroque Painting Collections at the Alte Pinakothek Museum; FBI Chicago Special Agent Benjamin Milligan ; FBI Chicago Special Agent Benjamin Milligan © German Consulate Chicago

The painting “Landschaft italienischen Charakters” (Landscape of Italian character) by Austrian painter Johann Franz Nepomuk Lauterer (1700-1733) had been missing from the collection of the Bayrische Staatsgemäldesammlungen for more than 70 years. Having disappeared after World War II, it resurfaced in Chicago where it had been offered by the descendants of an American soldier. It was identified as one of the 700 lost pieces of art which had been filed in the Lost Art database by the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, and with the help of the FBI, the painting was retrieved. At a ceremony held at the German Consulate General in Chicago.

Markus Blume, the Bavarian State Minister for Science and Arts said in a press statement: “I am delighted that an art treasure that was believed to have been lost is coming back to Bavaria: the return of the painting by Johann Franz Nepomuk Lauterer to the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen is not only an act of historical justice, but also an expression of the appreciation of our cultural heritage. In particular, I would like to thank the American FBI and all those who participated in the return of the painting on the American and German sides.”

| MAN WHO LED SMALL BOATS CRIME NETWORK RESPONSIBLE FOR SMUGGLING 10,000 TO THE UK JAILED

Hewa Rahimpur © gov.uk

A man who was arrested by the National Crime Agency has been jailed for 11 years for leading a small boats people smuggling network believed to have been involved in smuggling around 10,000 people to the UK.

Hewa Rahimpur, aged 30 and originally from Iran, was directing the network from his home in Ilford, east London, sourcing the boats in Turkey and having them delivered to locations in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. He would then direct other members of his criminal organisation to take them on to the northern French coast, from where migrants would be transported.

Rahimpur was detained by NCA officers in Wanstead Park on 4 May 2022, as part of a joint investigation involving the NCA and Belgian authorities. The investigation started following the seizure of a number of boats and outboard motors, found by Belgian police in the back of two cars near the Belgian-French border in October 2021. Phone analysis showed the drivers had been in contact with a UK-based phone number, engaging in message conversations about boat movements and locations for delivery.

The NCA was able to attribute the number to Rahimpur, tracking him down to east London where he was detained pending extradition. His arrest triggered a Europe-wide operation to bring down other members of the network, which led to arrests in the UK, Germany, France and Netherlands in July 2022. In Germany 60 inflatable boats and hundreds of life jackets which would have been used by the gang were seized.

In July 2022 a UK court ordered that Rahimpur should be extradited to Belgium to face trial in Bruges. There, prosecutors accused him of being engaged in ‘systematic human smuggling’ using small boats, charging migrants between £3,000 and £6,000 to make the crossing.

A judge in the Belgian city of Bruges found him guilty and sentenced him to 11 years in prison. Another 19 people were convicted alongside him and handed jail terms of between 30 months and eight years. NCA Deputy Director of Investigations Craig Turner said:

“Hewa Rahimpur’s network was, at the time of his arrest, one of the most prolific criminal groups involved in small boat crossings, playing a part in transporting thousands of migrants to the UK. “Bringing him to justice required the co-operation of law enforcement across Europe. It demonstrates the NCA’s determination to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle these dangerous people smuggling gangs, who treat human lives as a commodity to be profited from while exploiting the UK border.

“And our work is continuing – the NCA alone currently has around 90 investigations ongoing into high-level organised immigration crime, including those using boats and HGVs.

| THALES ALENIA SPACE UNVEILS PROJECT TO DEVELOP SPACE SMART FACTORY, ONE OF THE LARGEST FACILITIES OF ITS KIND IN EUROPE

© EOS

At the Tecnopolo Tiburtino hub in Rome, Thales Alenia Space’s all-digital factory will employ advanced technologies for the production of satellites

  • The factory will be built thanks to an important investment by Thales Alenia Space and co-funded by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) through the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) funds
  • It will make intensive use of digital and Industry 4.0 technologies
  • The factory will feature the Space JOINTLAB, an innovative and collaborative space with SMEs and research centers
  • Total surface area 21,000 sq.m, 5,000 sq.m of reconfigurable clean rooms, 1,900 sq.m of office space and co-working areas, 1,800 sq.m of technical support areas

Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), has unveiled its project to build the Space Smart Factory, one of the largest digital and reconfigurable facilities of its kind in Europe. The facility will form part of a system of interconnected space factories in Italy, employing advanced technologies to build satellites of different sizes for various fields and applications.

Over €100 million is being invested in the Space Smart Factory, including funding from the Italian Space Agency (ASI) through the PNRR.

This new state-of-the-art facility will be located at Rome’s technology hub, the Tecnopolo Tiburtino, which already houses 150 companies, mostly small and medium enterprises. Designed by EOS S.r.l., the factory will be built by CBRE | Hitrac, a global leader in critical infrastructure technologies and services spanning the full lifecycle of advanced technology systems.

Leonardo Global Solutions (LGS) provided support for the real-estate transaction, ranging from the purchase of the land and management of invitations to tender to the construction process, which is currently underway.

Site preparation and pre-fabrication planning began at the end of September with the aim of being operational by mid-2025.

The Space Smart Factory will employ automation and digital processes to offer high production capacity for advanced satellites, both in the microsatellite and small satellite sector, including the PLATiNO and Nimbus satellite families, and for quick turnaround of innovative, modular, high-performance platforms for high-revisit constellations.

Featuring state-of-the-art digital technologies, the Space Smart Factory can be reconfigured to suit different production requirements. It will be equipped with highly versatile and flexible clean rooms to support integration and testing of a wide range of satellites of different type and purpose such as  Earth-Observation, Navigation, and Communications. It will be a true digital hub using advanced technologies at all stages of satellite construction, i.e. design, assembly, integration and testing, including numerical modeling and Digital Twin, virtual and augmented reality technologies, and simulators integrated with the supply chain and automation (robots and cobots).

Another key element will be the Space JOINTLAB, a dynamic and innovative collaborative area designed to accommodate a multitude of functions geared toward the education and training of the new space professionals, as well as the development of innovative ideas and products, in partnership with R&D institutions, universities, startups, suppliers, SMEs, and other national and local industry partners.

The project is underpinned by sustainable architecture, especially energy saving, including extensive use of renewable energy.

The Space Smart Factory leverages Thales Alenia Space’s proven strengths as a European leader in government and commercial space projects – like the Galileo Second Generation constellation, the new ROSE-L and CIMR satellites for the Copernicus program, and the IRIDE constellation – as well as the best and brightest from academic centers like Polytechnic University of Milan, Sapienza University of Rome and world-class global organizations like Accenture, a leader in digital and process innovation for the aerospace sector.

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