ROME, December 29. /TASS/. The future of space exploration is unimaginable without Russia and hence this area of international cooperation must not be a hostage to political discord, Roberto Battiston, President of the Italian Space Agency (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana, or ASI) said in an exclusive interview with TASS.
“Russia has unmatched experience in space research and exploration. And we all hope for firm cooperation,” he said, adding that the future of space exploration was in global cooperation.
Bearing in mind the complexity of present-day experiments staged at the International Space Station and the necessity in high technology solutions, this process can only be international. And Russia’s contribution has always been and will be enormous. "It is hard to imagine the future of space exploration without your country,” he underscored.
He said he believed any obstacles in import and export of technologies would create big problems. “Notably, the mere existence of the International Space Station that came into being as a result of cooperation between the Russians and the Americans after the Cold War is a perfect proof that serves as evidence that space can be a reconciling factor over and above political differences,” the ASI president noted. “That is why we hope this cooperation will be continued. Withdrawal from cooperation by either of the sides might impact adversely the entire complex of space research.”
He said that one of top priority and the most daring goals of space research was Mars exploration. The European Space Agency (ESA) and Russia’s Space Agency (Roscosmos) already had a big joint project — ExoMars — and his country participated in it, he noted.
Italy’s first female astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti, is currently on a space mission aboard the International Space Station.