Portugal has now become the newest country to get an agency of national space. The country has announced its plans on March 18 when the country’s minister’s council signed a charter at formal ceremony that was held at Ponta Delgada which is its capital city.
The new agency of national space will be based in Azores archipelago. Located to the west of Portugal, Azores will be soon hosting the country’s first spaceport and infrastructure of satellite monitoring and tracking. The headquarters of the agency is being constructed on the island Santa Maria. This organization is planning to start its launch of small satellites by the year 2021.
The minister of technology, higher education and science, Manuel Heitor said that Azores has a suitable strategic position for considering operation and installation of space infrastructure to launch satellites. He wrote this in a report that was titled Portugal Space (2030), which talks about the agency’s priorities over the first decade. Heitor wrote that Santa Maria is close to European continent as it is close to American continent with a huge coverage of ocean of 1500 kilometers in any direction.
It offers unique benefits for development and promotion of new space through which reinforcement of monitoring the satellite’s infrastructure and installation of launch services of new satellites, he added. Santa Maria is home to the tracking stations of ESA. Known as Hill of Flowers, the station contains a 18 feet telescope which can look at rockets launched from spaceport of Europe in Kourou and can transmit telemetry between ground controllers and spacecraft. Santa Maria’s is out of the 10 stations that make up the network of Estrack. Until now Portugal did not have an agency of national space, but the country’s FCT funds research of science and it has had Space Program from 2019.