This book retraces the long history of Italian space activities, from the end of the fourteenth century, when the word "rocket" was invented in Italy, through to the present day. The narrative is based on a wide range of evidence, including many previously unpublished documents and interviews with those directly involved in the more recent initiatives.
Readers will learn about the development of pyrotechnic rockets; early research into rocket science; pioneers and visionaries of the twentieth century; the first Italian rockets, developed by the German scientists Hermann Oberth and Rolf Engel for military purposes; and the African adventure of Luigi Broglio, the "father" of Italian space exploration, who built and launched the first Italian satellite.
The coverage of the later history includes the foundation of the Italian Space Agency (ASI), the ASI's role in scientific and technological space programs and collaboration with NASA's space shuttle program, and Italian involvement in the International Space Station and the European Ariane and Vega rockets.
In recounting the fascinating and multifaceted story of the Italian space adventure, the book will appeal to a wide audience.