01 April 2019

Paolo Nespoli and important representatives of the aerospace industry visit Sabelt

Resistance, safety and lightness are fundamental characteristics of all Sabelt safety belts applications: objectives to which the Turin company has dedicated and continues to dedicate time and resources in research and development. This strive for excellence has allowed Sabelt to become a supplier of these components not only for road supercars and racing cars, but also for the modules destined to the most important space missions.

The company commitment in the aerospace sector received another important recognition on April 1st when a meeting was held at the Sabelt headquarters in Moncalieri (TO) with Fabio Massimo Grimaldi, president of the Altec aerospace company, and prof. Roberto Battiston, director of the Foundation for scientific research entitled Edoardo Amaldi, accompanied by an exceptional “guest star”: the astronaut Paolo Nespoli.

After the meeting with the top management of the company, the three guests, together with the scientific writer Lorenza Accusani, visited the Sabelt plants, from the laboratory to the prototyping department and the area dedicated to the seats production, where the activity stopped briefly to give the opportunity to get to know Paolo Nespoli and listen to the direct testimonies on the three space missions he took part in over ten years.

Nespoli, between October and November 2007, was a member of the crew involved in the Space Shuttle STS-120 mission, aimed at the construction of the ISS international space station. This experience was followed by a second expedition of five months, between December 2010 and May 2011, during which Nespoli conducted scientific experiments on board of the ISS. Later, between July and December of 2017, at the age of 60, he took part in a third space research trip lasting 6 months. Overall, Paolo Nespoli spent more than 10 months in orbit. To be precise 313 days, 2 hours and 36 minutes.

Fabio Massimo Grimaldi and Daniele Battiston, in addition to Nespoli himself, took the opportunity of the visit to Sabelt to underline the importance of the commitment and dedication of the people at the base of the success of the companies and of complex and ambitious projects such as the space missions, thanking the entire Turin company, from management to staff, for the collaboration.

Sabelt's experise in the manufacture of retaining systems for aerospace use derives from the experience accumulated in the development of racing safety belts with particular attention on weight reduction. For example, the use of Zylon (a compound of polyester and nylon), titanium and carbon made possible the creation of F1 safety belts weighing just 450 grams, about a third of the standard FIA approved safety belts. The know-how in the racing field has been successfully transferred to the cargo retaining system that travels together with the space module. The solutions adopted by Sabelt have allowed NASA to reduce the weight of around 40%, achieving considerable economic savings if we consider that the cost of making these high quality devices is around 50,000 dollars per kg.