Leonardo celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, looking towards Mars and the future of space exploration

Rome   16 July 2019 12:09

  • On 18 July, Leonardo and Matera Basilicata Foundation 2019 will present The Apollo Soundtrack, a multimedia performance of Brian Eno’s music that pays tribute to the iconic Apollo 11 mission
  • Spectacular Earth observation images from the Matera Space Center will be projected during the concert
  • Reference to the Apollo 11 mission, the 20 July 1969 TV live event, broadcasted thanks to the parabolic antenna of the Telespazio Fucino Space Center 
  • Leonardo plays a crucial role in major international space missions. In 2020, the Company’s technologies will be at the heart of the ExoMars mission

“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” These are the famous words by Neil Armstrong in occasion of the first “walk” on lunar soil on 20 July 1969. One of the greatest scientific and engineering endeavours of all times, it paved the way for increasing experiments and innovations in space. 

Leonardo is strongly committed to the development of new systems in the space sector: from the observation of the Earth, in order to monitor the environment, climate change and emergency management, to communications and satellite navigation. Leonardo is also part of major international scientific missions and planet explorations and its technologies will play a crucial role in the ExoMars 2020 mission. The Company manufactured the drill that, for the first time in history, will dig down the Red Planet’s surface, as far as two meters, searching for any trace of life. Soon, around every planet of the Solar System there is or there will be a technological instrument developed by Leonardo.

For the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, Leonardo will be in Matera, Italy to celebrate the day when something unimaginable finally became true. On 18 July, Leonardo and Matera Basilicata Foundation 2019 will promote the multimedia performance The Apollo Soundtrack, featuring Icebreaker, music by Brian Eno, Roger Eno and Daniel Lanois. The event has been planned to celebrate the Apollo 11 achievement, in an extraordinary mix between sounds and space images, to relive the emotions and memories of that incredible endeavour. The concert represents an occasion for Leonardo to integrate technology, science, arts and culture in a STEAM approach (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics + Arts).

Spectacular satellite images that will accompany the music performance are provided by the Matera Space Center, where e-GEOS – joint venture between Telespazio (80%) and ASI (20%) – one of the main international players in the geo-information sector, obtains and elaborates useful information to monitor and protect the health of our Planet. Always in Matera, the ASI laser ray MLRO (Matera Laser Ranging Observatory) periodically reaches the lunar soil where some retro-reflectors have been installed during past Apollo and Soviet robotic Lunokhod missions. The Earth-to-Moon distance is obtained by measuring the return time of the laser, which also allows crucial physics and relativity studies and a better knowledge of the internal structure of our natural satellite. 

Armstrong and Aldrin’s lunar soil steps also recall the 1969 achievement as the very first worldwide media event which enthralled millions of people and was broadcasted live on every TV of the globe. On that long night, the Italian channel RAI aired a “Moon Special” which lasted over 28 hours. The broadcasting was possible thanks to the first large parabolic antenna, installed at the Fucino Space Center (L’Aquila, Italy), which was established by Telespazio (today part of the Leonardo Group) only a few years before and which today has become one of the most advanced Spaceports in the world. 



Photos by Massimo Sestini