Portuguese space agency is formally constituted

The formal presentation happened last month, in Lisbon. Portugal Space was created by FCT and results from the partnership between the Portuguese Government and the Regional Government of the Azores, with the collaboration of the European Space Agency (ESA).

Portugal Space was created with the purpose of developing the national space sector, according to the vision set out in the strategic document Portugal Space 2030.This infrastructure should contribute to the production of advanced Portuguese scientific and technological knowledge in the space sector and should turn Portugal into a global authority in the science and economics of Space-Earth-Climate-Oceans interactions.

Pedro Camanho, co-area director of Space-Earth Interactions in Portugal and Professor at the Faculty of Engineering of U.Porto (FEUP), considers that the UT Austin Portugal Program will play an important role towards the full realization of Portugal Space’s mission as synergies can be identified between the goals of the Portuguese agency and thethree main strategic axes defined for the third phase of the Program in the Space sector: “to stimulate the exploitation of space data and signals through new services, to promote the development and manufacture of spacecraft systems, and to reinforce the national capacity for the space sector through research, innovation and advanced training.”

The research work developed in the scope of the UT Austin Portugal Program is also well aligned with the priorities of the National and Regional Research and Innovation Smart Specialization Strategies, and with transnational and intergovernmental initiatives tackling major global challenges, namely with the Atlantic Interactionsinitiative.

One of the main contributions of the Program in the area of Space-Earth Interactions will be the research projects. Pedro Camanho states that “it is expected that the strategic and exploratory projects will leverage the scientific knowledge relevant for the space sector, which exists both in the Portuguese Academia and research institutions and at UT Austin, in such a way that new disruptive technologies and products will be available for the ‘new space’ economy”.

“Ideally, these opportunities will include the upstream sector, related to space infrastructure and systems, and the downstream sector, related to the activities based on data collected in space”, he explains.

Additionally, the UT Austin Portugal Program will also organize thematic workshops that will bring closer together academia and industry to discuss related topics such as “satellite remote sensing of the oceans and exploitation of the associated data”, says Pedro Camanho.

The Space-Earth Interactions is a new strategic area of the Program that has been created to exploit the potential of integrated research and to produce and transfer the know-how of space technologies and earth/ocean observation and interaction. “In that way, I think that the research conducted in the context of the UT Austin Portugal Program will definitely contribute to the mission of Portugal Space,and it will reinforce Portugal’s position in the space sector”, Pedro Camanho concludes.