Internship Program

Papers have been developed by students from the Bocconi University, working under the aegis of  Mr Nicola Sasanelli, Director of Space, whilst participating in the joint South Australian Government/Bocconi University Internship Program.

The research contained in these papers will inform the strategies and actions planned for the enrichment of the space ecosystem in our state.

August 2017



Prepared by: Annalisa Piva, Universita’ Commerciale Luigi Bocconi

This report analyses the socio-economic benefits of establishing a dedicated National space agency in Australia. In pursuit this objective, the UK and Canadian experience is analysed, supportive of the argument that a National space agency is an unquestionable source of growth, an investment in the country’s future development, and a continuing driver of innovation.

In a sector that is undergoing increased global competition, Australia is an exciting hub of knowledge, innovative ideas, expertise and space-stakeholders ready to be pushed further to turn any opportunity into a success. The current performance of the space sector in Australia is comparable to the UK before the UK Space Agency was established. The longer experience of the Canadian Space Agency suggests a cluster of useful practices and facts to learn and take advantage from, both in terms of what is best practice and what errors should be avoided.

The establishment of an Australian Space Agency, sustained in an efficient and supportive way, would help Australia tap further into the multi-billion-dollar industry and maximize the space-driven socio-economic benefits, exploiting the opportunities open to it. The result will be – as UK and Canada show – a faster growing turnover and a consequent greater share of the global space economy, the generation of a significant number of jobs, and an ongoing modernization of Australian society. 

May 2017


Prepared by: Simone Spinelli, Universita’ Commerciale Luigi Bocconi

This report provides insight into venture capital investments in the space industry for commercial activities in the so called NewSpace economy. Venture capital investments are considered crucial for the growth opportunities of new companies. They provide invaluable support during the early stages of establishment where it is difficult to receive funding from other private institutions or even the government. The principal obstacle to investment for start-ups is generally the elevated risk, which only venture capitalists (VCs) are able to bear.

Venture capitalists that invest in space companies are mostly concentrated in the US (particularly in California). One of the major non-US hubs at a country level is the United Kingdom, which hosts about one third of non-US VC firms. Among countries with an emerging space economy, China and India, which boast two of the most advanced space programs in the world, are also starting to open their doors to private investors.

VC activity has showed an interesting increase in commercial space investments in the last 15 years, especially in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) sector. This is due to the new trends that have completely changed the way of approaching space. The new nanosatellite technology making access to space more affordable – and new commercial application for satellites are emerging, such as big data analysis and Internet of Things (IoT). 


December 2016

Small Satellites Economic Trends

Prepared by: Giovanni Facchinetti, Universita’ Commerciale Luigi Bocconi

This paper discusses the economic trends in the small satellite industry, featuring a detailed list of 33 different companies that are directly involved in the small satellite frame, sorted into five different groups according to their business focus: Earth observation, communication, multi-purpose, launch and deployment.

Technological achievements have led to miniaturisation resulting in lower costs and reduced time for development and launch of satellites. Small satellites are now expected to take a significant portion of the projected space industry growth: in 2014, 141 nano/micro satellite were launched into orbit whereas more than 3,000 satellites are expected to be launched between 2016 and 2022. Of particular interest is the rapid adoption of the CubeSat standard of small satellite which is the first globally and academically recognised standard for small satellites with specific weight and volume requirements.


September 2016

Aerospace Clusters - World's Best Practices and Future Perspectives

Prepared by: Matteo Paone, Universita’ Commerciale Luigi Bocconi

Provides an in-depth analysis of industrial clusters in the aerospace sector, with a particular emphasis on those that exhibit a stronger focus on the space segment. Grounded on a solid theoretical framework constituted by a vast academic literature and the Porter’s Diamond model for the competitiveness analysis, this work examines the world’s leading examples of aerospace clusters with the purpose of identifying common best practice and the key success factors.


June 2016 

 An International Comparison of Space History, Policy and Industrial Capability

Prepared by: Gabriele Lania, Universita’ Commerciale Luigi Bocconi

Considers space and space-related activities, and is linked with a wider plan for the development of a Space Strategy in South Australia. Focusing on the South Australian space economy, the study uses internationally recognised categories and applies them against the Australian sector. It includes an overview of the world’s space industry, including structure, history, trends, opportunities and the key players and provides an insight into the world’s main space participants. 

The ultimate purpose of this work is to highlight the successful space policies implemented by leading countries and which are now considered to be world’s best practice.