The story of the first Italian communications satellite, SIRIO, started in 1968, after the failure of the European project for the vector ELDO-PAS. The story up to the launch in 1977 involved the encumbering legacy of the San Marco satellite's success in the 1960s, political uncertainty in Italy, international economic crises of the 1970s, an overtly complex management system, and an inexperienced aerospace industry. Despite these handicaps, SIRIO won the race with its nearest competitor, the European satellite OTS, which had a similar research aim in the super high frequency band. In addition to collecting a large amount of useful data, SIRIO catalyzed the process for developing an improved organizational structure for Italian space research.

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