Gran Sasso Tech

A non-profit research organization where academia and industry collaborate in developing advanced technologies and education

The Gran Sasso Tech Foundation (GST) technological development and research activities draws on the experience of its two founders: GSSI, a leading international university for advanced studies, and Thales Alenia Space Italy, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), the largest satellite company in Europe specializing in aerospace.

Gran Sasso Science Institute
Thales Alenia Space

Institutional activities

The Foundation's activities focus on research, technology development,
education and training, technology transfer.

Starting from Space
to develop horizontal technologies

The Foundation's activities focus on, but are not limited to, the space sector.

The horizontal nature of space technologies, which lend themselves to applications in various other sectors, enables the Foundation to also engage and specialize in research and innovation in areas adjacent to space.

The enabling role of space technologies in developing competitiveness of research and industry is widely recognised at the European and international levels.

Technological areas

GST is a reference facility for the scientific community to develop small satellites and to design and manage space research missions. GST owns the modular and flexible platform architecture for Mini/Micro Satellites applications based on the Modular and Multi Function hermo-mechanical chassis (2MF/NIMBUS), managed as an "open hardware architecture" to encourage widespread innovation by multiple research centers. Ownership of the 2MF architecture, combined with access to the Thales Alenia Space Italy infrastructure, makes the Foundation a natural candidate to play a leading role in enabling universities and research centers to develop low-cost space science missions.

GST develops methodologies to support the whole radiation hardening process and qualification of "Components Off The Shelf '' as part of an integrated supply chain from electronic component manufacturers to irradiation facilities to facilitate a more widespread use of COTS components and modules for space and scientific applications.

GST contributes to establishing a national supply chain for space-based quantum technologies. The development of quantum computing and communications will lead to the creation of quantum networks in which space satellites will provide an important role as global connectivity nodes. The 2MF/NIMBUS architecture is a natural candidate for launching a QKD (Quantum Key Distribution) communications satellite demonstrator, in synergy with the ongoing development of local quantum fibre networks.

GST conducts advanced research and develops technologies based on Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Software to address the fundamental challenges of the digital society. Starting with the space industry (e.g. to manage the quality of satellite data and minimize downstream through the use of in-flight computers), also with the additional benefit of transferring to SMEs algorithms and AI applications developed in international research projects. The ubiquitous and pervasive nature of computers and sensors is leading to a future where the surrounding environment appears as a seamless blend of physical and virtual entities. GST develops technological assets to design and manage systems where physical and virtual interact reliably and efficiently.

GST develops and applies numerical simulations and software tools towards solving fundamental health, environmental, social and industrial problems. In the health field, the Foundation is involved in the development of methods and applications for genomics, proteomics, pharmacodynamics and diagnostics. GST also works to disseminate the use of innovative seismic simulation methods devised by GSSI and to integrate them with structural engineering models.

GST develops and deploys digital twins for scientific, engineering and manufacturing efficiency. A digital twin for the automated adjustment, analysis and optimization of the satellite system of the 'Crystal Eye' scientific mission, based on GST’s proprietary 2MF architecture, is currently under development. The Space and Earth Innovation Campus (SEIC) under construction in L'Aquila, will include a R&D laboratory for the development of digital twins, designed to operate in "digital continuity" with the industrial facilities of Thales Alenia Space Italy according to ESA standards, in order to enable concurrent activities of several European research and industrial production centers. Through the network of GST partners, the concurrent engineering platforms can be applied to various industrial sectors necessitating Industry 4.0 transformation.

GST develops and scales applications for monitoring and managing Earth’s regions by integrating data from satellite, UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) and terrestrial sensors. Earth observation via satellite sensors plays a key role in the development of agriculture 4.0, environmental monitoring, air/ sea/automotive traffic control, logistics, prevention and management of disasters (environmental, social, health). The development of innovative applications in which downstream data from satellites are integrated with data from UAVs and terrestrial sensor systems (enabled by 5G or IoT technologies) requires advanced skills in A.I., big data analysis, mathematical modeling, and software engineering.

GST develops technological solutions for research in the field of Cultural Heritage in collaboration with Research Institutions, Governmental Agencies, Museums and Art Schools. GST develops technological solutions for research in the field of Cultural Heritage in collaboration with Research Institutions, Governmental Agencies, Museums and Art Schools. For the Space and Earth Innovation Campus in L'Aquila, an advanced prototype of a compact low-energy particle accelerator (MACHINA) is being developed through a collaboration between INFN, CERN and GSSI to apply ion beam analysis (IBA) techniques to study components (e.g. pigments, metal alloys, decay or restoration materials) present in artistic and historic manufacts.

GST develops methods and service infrastructures to evaluate and manage the social and environmental impact of new technologies generated and to steer technological development towards ethical outcomes, starting from the selection of research lines to the conditions of new technology commercialization. In addition to evaluating its own projects, GST supports research entities, companies and public administrations in assessing and managing the impacts of their activities.


The Foundation has access to the following facilities of Thales Alenia Space Italia SpA to carry out research, development, testing and training activities.

  • Clean Room (ISO Class 5,6,7,8 and 9) for the integration of equipment and subsystems
  • Test benches equipped with measuring instruments for electrical functional testing of equipment and subsystems
  • Ambient and vacuum climate chambers for functional tests under temperature change conditions according to predetermined gradients
  • Mechanical vibration and shock equipment for mechanical and dynamic testing
  • Anechoic chambers for testing radio frequency and microwave signals
  • Laboratories for material characterization: chemical-physical tests, mechanical tests, rx analysis and electrical measurements
  • Laser equipment for optical checks and alignments
  • Precision dimensional measurement equipment (dea)
  • 3D printing equipment for plastic additive manufacturing

Governing bodies

Gran Sasso Tech

Founder's Assembly

Massimo Claudio Comparini - President

Eugenio Coccia - Vice President

Oscar Cicchetti

Leonardo Mazzini



Fernando Ferroni

Board of Directors

Fernando Ferroni - President

Leonardo Mazzini - Vice President

Roberto Aloisio

Francesco Amicucci

Ulisse Di Marcantonio

Speranza Falciano

Walter Pecorella

Alfredo Pigiani

College of Auditors

Giovanni Galoppi - President

Sergio Azzarri

Antonio Di Donato

Marco Fazi - Substitute

David Iagnemma - Substitute

Chief Executive Officer

Alessandro Pajewski

Scientific Director

Giovanni Campolo