On Saturday 16 May, after a long illness, ESA Director of launchers Antonio Fabrizi passed away in Rome at the age of 67.
On hearing the sad news, ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain said, "ESA and the European space sector lose an outstanding professional in launchers development and exploitation; I lose a very close friend who has been available and present at all times during our 12 years in common at ESA.
"Antonio is an example of knowledge, loyalty, courtesy and courage for all of us and for me in particular. He has conquered success. My thoughts, as well as those of all ESA staff and contractors who have known Antonio, go to his wife Laura and his two daughters, hoping that our attachment to Antonio will help them in this devastating moment."
Mr Fabrizi served as ESA Director of Launchers since 2003. He played a pivotal role in the successful development of the ESA's Vega launcher, in the installation of Soyuz at the Guiana Space Centre and in building up the reliability of Ariane 5.
After completing his studies at the University in Rome 'La Sapienza', Italy, where he graduated in mechanical engineering, he began work with BPD. Between 1975 and 1989 he held several positions, and was responsible for feasibility studies on Ariane boosters.
In 1990 he was appointed Commercial Manager at Fiat Spazio in charge of developing new initiatives. Then in 1993 he returned to BPD to become head of the Space Transportation Systems Business Unit.
From 1997 to 1999, Mr Fabrizi carried out the same responsibilities for FiatAvio's Space Business Unit where his duties included responsibility for the Cyclone and Vega programmes. In 2000 he became Vice President of FiatAvio's Space Business Unit, with responsibility for all space activities. Antonio Fabrizi has held several directorships of companies, including Europropulsion, ELV, Regulus and Arianespace.
On 1 March 2014, at his demand, he took up duty as ESA Director Advisor to the Director General, continuing to provide unique support to the preparation of ESA's new Ariane 6 launcher. He leaves us just one month before the end of his mandate at ESA, after 'mission accomplished'.
About the European Space Agency
The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe's gateway to space.
ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe's space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.
ESA has 20 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 18 are Member States of the EU. Two other Member States of the EU, Hungary and Estonia, have signed Accession Agreements to the ESA Convention and will soon become new ESA Member States.
ESA has established formal cooperation with seven Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.
ESA is also working with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes.
By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members,
ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.
ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.
Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, Navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space.
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