This Thursday, March 07, Portugal’s government announced the creation of Portugal Space, a space agency to be based on the Azores island of Santa Maria, in the Atlantic Ocean. The initiative has the support of the European Space Agency (ESA).
The new agency is intended will be responsible for the management of national space programs, aiming to bring investment and create qualified employment in the science and technology field within Portugal. According to Lusa Portuguese News Agency, the science minister Manuel Heitor said the agency would be up and running this month.
The creation of the space agency is part of Portugal Espaço 2030, a new strategy established by the Portuguese government in 2018. The programme has the objective of opening doors for “new opportunities of institutional, industrial and international cooperation, contributing for the development of innovative and competitive technologies in the international market”, as stated in the Portuguese Official Gazette in March, 2018.
It was also announced today the implementation and promotion of the “AZORES International Satellite launch Programme, AZORES ISLP”, with the expectation of beginning operations with the first launch services in the Spring/Summer of 2021.