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Portugal’s Space Port is readying for its first take-off


Portugal’s Space Port is readying for its first take-off - portugal news
Portugal’s Space Port is readying for its first take-off - Portugal Business News





Portugal space news – While Portugal’s Space Port of Santa Maria in the Azores is readying for its first take-off in 2025, the countdown to the return to the Moon is already being felt somewhere between Washington and Beijing, and the militarization of space is the elephant in the room.

 

Portugal’s Space Port, that is located on Santa Maria Island in the Azores, is a prime location for launching towards the south to Low Earth Orbits (LEO) that are ideal for Earth Observation activities, while there is a growing demand for LEO satellites in the field of telecommunication constellations.


If everything goes as planned, the Portuguese island of Santa Maria could be chosen for the launch of the Space Rider space vehicle, that is one of the European Space Agency's most emblematic projects.

 

Portugal’s Santa Maria Space Port will be operated by a private business entity since there will be no public-private partnership (PPP) according to Ricardo Conde, the President of Portugal Space. In an interview with Expresso, he stated:

 

“The countdown to the return to the Moon is already being felt somewhere between Washington and Beijing - and as it progresses there is a question that arises: after all, who owns the Earth's natural satellite? So, do we have to make a Tordesillas treaty for the Moon? Will it come through? Shall we divide the moon into slices: this is mine, that is yours? It is complicated.”

 

The militarization of space is the elephant in the room, while the US and China plan to return to the Moon with manned missions before 2030, and these projects not only involve an increase in traffic, but also raise questions about the need for policing.

 

Earth Observation, that is a sector representing a turnover of 3.3 billion euros and that employs around 16,200 people, is experiencing exponential growth. In view of the high economic potential of the Santa Maria Space Port, Portugal Space launched the Azores International Satellite Launch Programme (AISLP) for establishing of an open spaceport.

 

 

Does Portugal have a Space Law?

 

Portugal revised its Space Law under Decree-Law no. 20/2024 on February 2, 2024, with conditions for licensing space launch centers in Portuguese territory. The revised law provides the conditions for selecting a commercial operator that has the capacity to compete with operators on the international market from Portugal. At a time when the EU is discussing the creation of a Space Law, Portugal is among the restricted group of countries that already has a legal framework to govern space operations.

 

According to the president of the Portuguese Space Agency, Ricardo Conde, “this is an essential instrument for positioning Portugal in a sector of strategic interest for Europe, and for creating attractive conditions for new operators of space access services from the national territory to achieve the objective of turning Portugal into a space nation”.





 

 

 

 

 

 

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