Federico Massobrio

Head of Advance Exploration Programs at Thales Alenia Space, Domain Explorations and Science, Italy.

Doctor in Mechanical Engineering, 1989, at Politecnico di Torino, he has been working in Thales Alenia Space since 1990 developing flight operations for the Columbus laboratory of the International Space Station program.

In 1992 he was System Manager for the European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV).

In 1996 he was responsible for the realization of the Mechanical Subsystem of the ATV Cargo Carrier.

In 2000 he was Chief System Engineer for the ESA Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) project. He followed as Project Manager several studies for European and Italian Space Agencies, mainly focused to re-entry and transportation vehicles for different applications e.g. space exploration missions, recovery capsules, winged re-entry vehicles.

Since 2004 he is Program Manager of EXPERT, a hypersonic re-entry demonstrator capsule. Since 2012 he is responsible of Space Exploration Building Blocks projects portfolio; in 2014-2015 he has been Program Manager of the Space Rider reusable micro-gravity and re-entry platform.

Since 2016 he manages the Advanced Exploration Programs area including Mars sample return and Lunar exploration missions. Since 2014 he is also responsible of European Commission research activities in TAS Torino plant, including around 20 among FP7 and H2020 projects.


Lunar and Mars Exploration Programs at Thales Alenia Space: a management perspective.

The 50th anniversary of human landing on the Moon is occurring this year, 2019, July 16th , and it’s common to say that NASA with the Apollo program has invented the program management of the modern era. 50 years later a new momentum to explore the Moon, Mars and the solar system is alive and involving the space community as ever. The new Moon exploration is a reality, this time in a sustainable way, and the new paradigm that this time the Man will go to the Moon to stay is driving new technologies and methodologies, including program management. The international scenario, and the overall budget limitations prevent nowadays that a complex space mission like this is run by one Agency only, as the Apollo history tells us. Now complex space programs have to be faced considering the new economy, partnerships and agreements are spread geographically world-wide, and the rules of efficiency and competence centers are leading the way a space program is managed.

In this speech a few of the main space exploration programs, actually running at Thales Alenia Space, will be described, with particular focus on program methodologies, and their implications: the service module of the new ORION NASA manned space vehicle, is actually designed and manufactured in Europe. Two units are ready for assembly at Kennedy Space Center in Florida to get to the Moon a new generation of astronauts. Tomorrow the Moon foresees more ambitious plans: a new Space Station in the so-called cis-lunar orbit is going to be built and assembled, and Europe will play with its Industrial sites, including Italy, a first-class role as Prime Contractor of major modules. Afterwards, space exploration will get to Mars, where the next challenging missions will see the possibility to return Martian soil samples for the first time back to Earth. Also this endeavor will see main elements designed, developed, tested and assembled by European industries.