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Atlantic International Satellite Launch Programme to be presented at the International Astronautics Conference

(available only in English)

The Atlantic International Satellite Launch Programme is presented on Tuesday at the International Astronautical Congress - IAC, which runs from 1 to 5 October in Bremen, Germany. The program, whose international Call was launched by FCT and EMA on September 24 in the Azores, is presented by the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, at a session organized by ESA.

 Portugal is represented in a stand organized by FCT together with the Regional Government of the Azores and A&D, in which several Portuguese companies and research institutions will be present. The Program will also be promoted at the stand, which has it as its main theme.

The potential development of a spaceport in the Atlantic aims to stimulate a new generation of small satellite-based space activities. It aims to expand the existing satellite monitoring and tracking facilities on Santa Maria Island and open up a new generation of launcher services and small satellite-based space activities for the benefit of society at large. It considers the Azores' unique location in the Atlantic and its centrality to Europe, the Americas and Africa, and aims to start new launches from 2021.

This initiative also aims to stimulate a new response to the growing demand for the use of small satellites for diversified purposes and including telecommunications and space-based forms of internet, but also Earth observation applications, including agriculture and fisheries, infrastructure monitoring, urban development and security, among others - a market that has been budgeted by various international sources at several billion euros over the next decade. This initiative also aims to stimulate the creation of skilled jobs and new business projects with higher added value in association with the "New Space Industries", along with the need to accelerate safety and security initiatives involving the use of micro, mini and small satellites.

 The Atlantic International Satellite Launch Program is launched on the basis of a 3 phase process, which now begins with a consultation of the international market and in order to attract foreign direct investment to support the dynamization of the space sector in Portugal. This process will be carried out on the basis of an International High Level Commission, with national and foreign experts, coordinated by Jean Jacques Dordain, former director-general of ESA, and including, among others, Dava Newman (co-director of the MIT-Portugal Program and former assistant administrator at NASA) and Brian Tapley (founder of the Center for Space Studies at the University of Texas at Austin).