Italian President Sergio Mattarella paid a visit to the “Luigi Broglio” Space Center in Malindi on March 15, as part of his first Official Visit to Kenya. Italy’s President was received by Giorgio Saccoccia, President of ASI, the Italian Space Agency, Edmondo Cirelli, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Roberto Natali, Italy’s Ambassador to Kenya, Aden Bare Duale, Kenya’s Minister of Defense, and Major General James Aruasa, Board Chairman of the Kenya Space Agency (KSA).

President Matteralla said: “The Malindi Space Center stands out as a highly successful example of cooperation that we are determined to support jointly sharing responsibilities and goals. It is a scientific and technological cooperation that sets the tone for future activities which we plan to intensify.”

The Base is a strategic asset for Italy, and Kenya is a major player in terms of space technologies and international cooperation. Since 2004 the Italian Space Agency, has been operating the Center where 200 people work, of whom 192 are local staff. Italy’s presence is regulated by an intergovernmental agreement between Italy and Kenya and five thematic protocols.

Giorgio Saccoccia, ASI President, said: “The Space Center is a unique model of strategic partnership both in Africa and in the world. ESA and the EU keep the Center in high regard, just like the United States that from Malindi tracked the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, the world’s largest and most powerful telescope ever built. The United Nations also follows the Center’s training activities associated with the promotion of its sustainable development goals.”

The event started with a ceremony to unveil a plaque commemorating President Mattarella’s visit. Subsequently, ASI president Saccoccia illustrated the Space Center’ activities and then the delegations visited the Control Space Center that is in charge of tracking space objects in orbit, as well as providing launch support, satellite data collection, and training activities. The latter relate in particular to the cooperation between Italian and Kenyan universities to develop a Cubesat. The delegations also visited the International Center for Space Education, where president Saccoccia discussed the role of the international space education center that is meant to be a hub for the entire African continent.

At the end of the visit the Italian President and Kenya’s Minister of Defense addressed the local community working at the center.

A video on the Luigi Broglio Space Center in Malindi.

The space activities carried out in the Center have an undeniable strategic value for Italy, Kenya and the entire African continent. The same is true for the many research projects and training activities that include also the International School for Training in Space Sciences and Technologies, which is designed to make the Luigi Broglio Space Center into a training hub for the whole of Africa.

Click here for the video on the President Mattarella’s visit.

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