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Portugal steps into the Future of Sustainable Space with the ENLIGHTEN project

Portugal steps into the Future of Sustainable Space with the ENLIGHTEN project - portugal news
Portugal steps into the Future of Sustainable Space with the ENLIGHTEN project - Portugal Business News

Portugal news - Portugal steps into the Future of Sustainable Space with the ENLIGHTEN project, the European Initiative for Low cost, Innovative & Green High Thrust Engine, that is designed to develop advanced production and deployment technologies for reusable rocket engines.

The ENLIGHTEN project, that has a budget of 17.4 million euros, and is headed by the ArianeGroup, comprises 18 partners from 8 countries; namely Portugal, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, and Estonia, that are collaborating for a sustainable space.

According to Carolina Rêgo-Costa, the legal advisor of Portugal Space and one of the Vice-Chairs of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS): “Portuguese Space Law already incorporates a series of sustainability concerns, thus placing the country at the forefront in terms of regulations."

Portugal is supporting the future of sustainable space by organizing a conference on the Management and Sustainability of Space Activities in collaboration with UNOOSA (United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs) in May 2024. The preparatory meeting will prepare the groundwork for the Summit of the Future on the theme Multilateral Solutions for a Better Tomorrow, that will be hosted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 22-23 September 2024 in New York and that includes Heads of State.

The Executive Director of Portugal Space, Hugo André Costa, has stated that: "Both the preparatory events and the conference will be fundamental to discuss the state of play of international standards related to sustainability and to understand what path can be taken through the establishment of Space standards."

Portugal’s involvement in the ENLIGHTEN project, that the ESA has entrusted to ArianeGroup, will lead to the development of reusable, high-power engines using bio-methane or green hydrogen. These engines will power Europe’s future fleet of reusable, eco-friendly launchers.

The goal of the ENLIGHTEN project will be to develop key technologies with the use of AI for reusable rocket engines. The project will bring together a number of academic and industrial partners, including innovative start-ups.

In line with Europe’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2050, the ESA believes that the reusability of rocket stages will reduce the environmental impact of the launch industry. Europe is developing a sustainable space industry, with the shift towards renewable energy sources at the Centre Spatial Guyanais (CSG) in French Guiana as well as the creation of solar fields and two biomass units which could save up to 50 GWh per year, that will reduce the carbon footprint by about 45,000 tons of CO2.

Europe is thus forging ahead in the field of sustainability and Portugal is preparing to step into the future of sustainable space with the ENLIGHTEN project that will develop advanced technologies for reusable rocket engines.

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