Portugal Space sets major programmatic challenges
The main programmatic challenges of Portugal Space are the construction of an Atlantic Constellation, a digital Earth Observation system - Digital Planet -, a 5G ecosystem and a space innovation environment in the Azores.
The implementation of the +Space Plan in Portugal and Europe with the ESA established less than a year ago in the scope of the Portuguese presence in the Ministerial Summit of ESA, Space19+, and which was the materialisation of the Portuguese space strategy, Portugal Space 2030, has already put several initiatives in place.
The workshop Space Systems and Innovation: Portugal and Europe 2020-2030 made it possible to take stock of the projects already underway to implement the Strategy, talk about the significant challenges facing Portugal and present some of the guidelines that should guide the work of the Portuguese Space Agency, Portugal Space, and involve the sector in the coming years.
Reinforcing the need to ensure a compelling articulation of the different funding frameworks – ESA, European Union in its various strands, national funds and the European Southern Observatory – the document presented emphasises primary strategic objectives:
- To establish, maintain and guarantee the operation of an “Atlantic Constellation”*, in international cooperation and under the coordination of the Atlantic International Research Center – AIR Center, before 2025;
- To build, promote and operate a downstream digital platform – Digital Planet – capable of integrating multiple data sources, including Space;
- Develop a 5G ecosystem for the development of the Atlantic and the outermost regions of Portugal;
- To establish an ecosystem of spatial innovation, specifically on the island of Santa Maria in the Azores.
The launch of a constellation of Earth Observation microsatellites – the Atlantic Constellation – in international cooperation before 2025 will integrate projects already underway: the Infante satellites (led by the Portuguese space company Tekever), Magal (Efacec) and AEROS (Edisoft). But also a downstream platform which integrates data from satellite as well as from other sources (ASTRIIS by Tekever), the reusable suborbital vehicle Viriato (Omnidea) and the Caravela project (Tekever), which aims to develop structures for micro launchers (small rockets).
The Earth Observation platform “Digital Planet” aims to address all governmental public sector entities needs and requirements, and will bring together data from different sources to be analysed by advanced data processing tools. The Digital Planet intends to aggregate multiple data sources, namely spatial data, but also extract information through the use of advanced digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, including the mapping of remote areas, such as the Côa Valley or the 200 miles of the Portuguese Atlantic platform. The aim is to promote at a national level new services in traditionally non-spatial areas, such as urban and territorial cadastre, mobility, agriculture, fisheries, security, critical infrastructure and biodiversity. The creation of a 5G ecosystem will also contribute to the development of the Atlantic and the outermost regions.
The update of the Portugal Space 2030 strategy also reinforces the objective of establishing an ecosystem of spatial innovation on the island of Santa Maria in the Azores, which among others includes the creation of a spaceport through the Azores International Satellite Launch Program – Azores ISLP.
The Portugal Space Strategy 2020-2030: Review of Implementation and Guide for the Future is available for consultation on the Portugal Space website.
Disclaimer: The selection of proposals under the “Investing in Industrial Innovation – InCubed Call for Portuguese companies – focused on developing end-to-end spaceborne capabilities to provide commercial products and services related to the Atlantic Chapter of the Blue Worlds” shall be performed impartially through the Investing in the ESA Industrial Innovation (InCubed) programme. Any mention of Portuguese companies concerning the Atlantic Constellation is in relation to previous or existing national activities.