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The strategy Portugal took to the ESA Council Meeting at Ministerial Level
reflects the work that the Portuguese Space Agency has been developing since its inception

Despite happening only every three years, the ESA Council Meeting at Ministerial Level is one of the most defining and exciting moments in the European space sector. Seating at the same table, the 22 member states discuss a common strategy for the near future to affirm Europe in the space sector. Together, the ministers that oversee space affairs, backed by the national structures responsible for the industry, science and technology, uphold national interests, assuring these will support a common strategy to strengthen Europe in the space sector.

As the Portuguese Space Agency president, I had the honour of accompanying the Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, Professor Elvira Fortunato to this meeting, as the Minister safeguarded the interests of the national industry and secured a relevant role to the national players in the European strategy.

In a close relationship with the national ecosystem, the different Portuguese delegates at ESA prepared these guidelines over several months to map the space community interests and priorities, aligned with the national strategy for space, to define a plan of action. In this Newsletter, we present to you the main guidelines that supported the decision-making at the government level for the Portuguese subscription to ESA programmes.

The strategic elements of these guidelines are based on the three main axes of action of the Portuguese Space Agency in this decade, namely continuing the scientific and technological capacity-building process; pursuing the programmatic challenges launched by the Agency and expanding the role of space in promoting scientific education and culture among younger generations.

The strategy Portugal took to the meeting reflects the work that the Portuguese Space Agency has been developing since its inception and this strategy also goes hand in hand with the space programmes that are being implemented by the European organizations.

But that is not all. In this Newsletter, we present you BEEVERYCREATIVE, a Portuguese company based in Ílhavo that took 3D printing to space. We also want to introduce you João Lousada, the analog astronaut who has completed almost a handful of these missions and is the first Portuguese flight director at ISS.

Lastly, we are preparing the second edition of Zero-G Portugal – Astronaut for a Day initiative, and the pre-registrations are open. So, stay tuned to learn more in the coming months. Until then, good readings and a fantastic 2023.

Ricardo Conde
22 of December, 2022
About the author

Ricardo Conde, Ricardo Conde, 57 years old, is a father of two beautiful girls. He graduated in Electrical and Computers engineering from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) – Technical University of Lisbon, with a background in Telecommunications, Radiofrequency, and Space and Ground Systems.
Ricardo has more than 30 years of working in the industrial and institutional space sector. He began his professional career in 1991, having been linked to the Aeronautics and Space sector since 1993, having participated in several national and international Space programs, particularly in Space and Earth Segments.
Since 2019, Ricardo has been a member of the board of directors of the Portuguese Space Agency, and in 2020, he was appointed President of the Agency.
He has been participating as a panellist and keynote speaker in several International Space Congresses, particularly on the emergence of new space agencies as new actors in space, Space sustainability and the role of Space in Earth sustainability. In 2022, Ricardo was the chairperson of the Eureka Network, the larger international network to promote Science and Innovation for SMEs.
Currently, he is the Portuguese representative and head of delegation in the Council of the European Space Agency (ESA), in the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and in the Council of the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO).