The strategic line of research dedicated to Space Propulsion Systems is in accordance with the plans and requirements of ASI and MIUR at a national level and those of ESA and the EU at a European level. The main reasons for development in this field are:
Europe's important position in the field of launchers and that of Italy in particular, as it is at the forefront in the field of small launchers. Italy is in fact a leader in the programme for development of VEGA launchers (launchers for satellites weighing up to 1,500 kg in LEO orbit);
The lines of development over the coming years, as set down during the last ESA Ministerial meeting, indicating the need to prioritise the evolution of VEGA in order to increase launching capacity in Europe;
The technological drivers, defined in the Space of Horizon 2020 work programme for Airspace access systems and space transport, also concern propulsion;
The HYPROB programme, assigned to CIRA by MIUR in 2010 with the objective of developing know-how in the field of space propulsion systems that use hydrocarbon fuels (methane), is instrumental in making CIRA a structure of excellence on a European level with regard to propulsion; it allows for the training of highly qualified personnel and the development of advanced technological skills at CIRA and affiliated companies.