Saltar para conteúdo
Historical XXIII Government - Portuguese Republic Back to Government in Office


2023-09-26 at 11h04

30 years on from PoSAT-1, Portugal returns to major space initiatives

PoSAT-1, the first Portuguese satellite, was launched in 1993

The ambition is clear: to make Portugal "a space nation by the end of this decade". These were the words proffered by the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Elvira Fortunato, at the ceremony commemorating the 30th anniversary of the first Portuguese satellite’s launch, PoSAT-1.

During her speech in the National Civil Engineering Laboratory auditorium in Lisbon, the Minister recalled that in Santa Maria, the capabilities to instal "space access infrastructure through a space port" are being developed and boosted. In the future, suborbital flights will take off from this Island and technologies will be fostered for monitoring space traffic and debris.

Back to the major space initiatives 

The Government expects to initiate the suborbital flights by the end of 2023 from the Santa maria Technological and Space Centre on Santa Maria, Azores. According to Elvira Fortunato, our country is vested in setting an industrial agenda for designing, integrating, and operating satellites, namely operationalising 30 satellites on several constellations for new territory monitoring services, both for land and sea.

In November last year with the Portuguese contribution of 115 million euros to the European Space Agency (ESA) budget, the Minister recalled that this amount will enable boosting the Portuguese presence "in Europe’s major space initiatives, with 100% industrial return".

Science Merit to the "Portuguese satellite’s father"

At the end of her speech, the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education acknowledged Fernando Carvalho Rodrigues by awarding him the Medal of Science Merit under the 30th anniversary of the launch of the first Portuguese satellite. Fernando Carvalho Rodrigues was renowned for "the vision he had 30 years ago and led ot the PoSAT-1 being launched.

Considered to be the first Portuguese satellite’s father, the professor said the Medal of Science Merit "honours the Portuguese people" and the former Minister of Industry and Energy, Luís Mira Amaral (1987 – 1995) who "30 years ago, connected all the networks".

A brief history of PoSAT-1

- PoSAT-1 was the first Portuguese satellite.

- He went into orbit on 25 September 1993.

- He was launched using rocket Ariane 4 from the Kourou Space Centre in French Guinea.

- It is a 50kg micro-satellite developed by a Consortium of Portuguese companies and universities, build at Surrey University in England.

- It operates on solar power captured via four solar panels installed on its surface.

- At this moment, the satellite is adrift and ceased communications with the Sintra Satellite Centre in 2006.