A research, innovation and growth strategy for Portugal presents four strategic objectives which are the basis for the business plan of future space activities in Portugal.
The four strategic objectives as published in Portugal Space 2030 are:
Promote economic growth and the creation of skilled jobs in Portugal by promoting space-related markets, namely through market uptake and exploitation of satellite data and signals cutting across multiple activity sectors and addressing societal challenges, including in agriculture, fisheries & ocean and climate monitoring; in monitoring infrastructures, in urban development, in defence and home security, and in the public health sector;
Foster the generation of satellite data through new space technologies and space-related infrastructures in Portugal, leveraging international scientific and technological cooperation and turning Portugal into a stronger player in the space sector, with emphasis on new space industries (i.e., “New Space”);
Contribute to the development of the country and to the strengthening of diplomatic relations and international scientific cooperation, taking into account the advantages of Portugal’s geo-strategic position for the Space sector, and also with a view to sharing the return of space activities with countries and not yet developed capacities in the space domain, with emphasis on Portuguese-speaking countries;
Ensure the development and evolution of the legal, financial, institutional, cultural/educational internationalization frameworks capable of boosting the development of the Space sector in Portugal through national initiatives and international cooperation for the next decade.
The vision is that by 2030, Portugal – an Atlantic nation, with a rich and global maritime tradition – is broadly recognised as a global authority in the science and economics of Space-Earth-Climate-Oceans interactions, making particular use of Earth Observation related technologies for space-ocean interactions and methods of data science for the benefit of society.
Market Analysis, Portugal’s unique Positioning, and the Way Forward
Global Trends and the Development of the Space Sector
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;
Development of the INFANTE micro-satellite constellation for Earth observation applications (http://www.infante.space/);
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 Azores International Satellite Launch Program, “Azores 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.