Infrastructure is currently being developed by Portugal that will set up a spaceport on an island of Santa Maria. This is a European landing and launch location used by small satellites. As a member of ESA, Portugal has asked for ESA’s tech assistance and tailored expertise via an agreement that was signed on June 21 by Director General Worner of the ESA and Minister Manuel Heitor.
As per its specified purpose, ESA is supposed to provide assistance to all its members for various activities that they undertake on a country basis. Portugal will be able to derive huge benefits from ESA’s programmatic and technical expertise in handling launch ground and base development infrastructures and other related services along with testing and using them in applications of various legal frameworks meant for spaceports owned by the Government.
However, Portugal Space is likely to maintain financial and technical responsibility for the use and request of ESA’s expertise. Demand is growing for small-sat launches via micro-launchers. Member states are responding to market needs and ESA is lending its support to all members who are currently asking for it in spaceports domain and testing infrastructures under ESA’s jurisdiction and related services.
The current assistance extended by the ESA to its members is defined as being part of CSTSS program that is being proposed for a decision at the Space19+ during November. 2022 could see the ESA utilize Azores landing area for its SR lifting body. This will be useful as a lab platform located in outer space and will stay for long periods, returning back to Earth in the end with cargo.
This Azores base will be suitable then since it allows for the Space Rider’s return at same latitudes as its orbit, thus requiring fewer maneuvers. All these plans will eventually be much useful to Portugal, who will find ESA’s expertise to be of much help during their planned activities.