Market Analysis, Portugal’s unique Positioning, and the Way Forward

Global Trends and the Development of the Space Sector


Globalisation which will continue to require interdependence, but which also triggers fragmented governance; as well as an increase in inequalities (in different forms, e.g. income, age, gender, digital divide…) with possible increase in migration due to amongst other things geo-political instability;


Advancement in technologies that will continue to transform societies through their applications – digitalisation; quantum technologies (such as applied to internet: artificial intelligence and advanced manufacturing and industry 4.0, internet of things are but some examples;


Climate change, as well as the need to manage energy and resources (including food security and water supply) will intensify.


Increase of necessity of security actions for societal as well as individual perspectives.

These developments will see an increase in the uptake of space-based data – earth observation as well as GNSS – transformed in actionable information by a multitude of actors as well as by decision makers.

Specific Portuguese strengths are:

  • Unique geographic location on the Atlantic;

  • Dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem for start-ups;

  • Maturity of the Portuguese space industry (so far mostly in the software domain), with the existence of a Space-Aeronautics-Defence Cluster since 2017;

  • Growing economy;

  • Development of the INFANTE micro-satellite constellation for Earth observation applications (;

  • Largest territorial waters in Europe;

  • Excellent space scientists and engineersand pool of creativity and enthusiasm;

  • Participation in the European consortium for Space Surveillance and Tracking, with assets in the Azores Islands;

  • Established EMSA in Lisbon;

  • Established the Atlantic International Research Centre, “AIR CENTRE”, for south-north cooperation;

  • Launch of the the Atlantic International Satellite Launch Program, “Atlantic ISLP”.

Space-Earth-Climate-Oceans interactions represent a unique emerging theme – both environmental as well as economic – and Portugal is perfectly placed to both enhance, help preserve and protect Atlantic interactions and related “double-use” systems.

From an environmental point of view, oceans are key for monitoring and understanding climate change and their balance is under significant threat from pollution.

From an economic point of view, oceans are important in that their conditions impact the transportation sector, energy sector, and food sector. As a source of limited (and often threatened) resources subject to exploration interests from many parties, a fair allocation and oversight can be achieved with proper monitoring and inspection mechanisms in place. Tourism related to maritime activities is also expected to grow with a challenge to keep it eco-friendly.

From a safety and security point of view autonomous shipping, piracy and smuggling are all elements of importance, as well as system alerts for threats such as tsunamis and other extreme weather conditions that can pose danger to coastlines and recreational navigation. For the latter, services associated with Search And Rescue are expected to have an higher demand and include more sophistication and inter-operability between space and terrestrial/maritime means.