SGAC Portugal

National Points of Contact
Luis Ferreira Hugo Costa
Luis Ferreira
Nov 2012-Nov 2014
Hugo Costa
Dec 2013-Dec 2015
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Since 2000 when Portugal joined ESA (European Space Agency) as its 15th member state, and later as an ESO (European Southern Observatory) member state, space industry and awareness within Portugal has grown. In December this year, celebrating the ten years of Portugal’s participation in the European Space Agency (ESA), a study of impact was presented, revealing a new image of the country’s space sector. According to this report, Portugal got a geographical return (roughly the ratio between the income of projects and the country’s contribution) from ESA of around 99% in 2009. This means that, for the first time, the Portuguese space community is absorbing the investment that the government is making on ESA. However, most space young professionals and university students still leave the country at some point of their studies or career to search for better opportunities. SGAC Portugal aims to keep the Portuguese students and young professionals connected regardless of how they develop in their space careers.


Young Space Activities Overview in Portugal

The space industry in Portugal has grown considerably. Though their size is still not comparable to the big European space players, the number of companies has increased 7 times over the past ten years and the number of contracts with ESA has grown from 4, in 2000, to 58, in 2009, representing a value of more than 17 Million Euro. There are now more people employed in the space sector and the area of intervention is also wider: software, consulting, services and hardware.

This trend reflects itself in academia as well. The Research and Development (R&D) institutes are responsible for 10% of all space related projects in Portugal, many of them developed in cooperation with the industry sector. Apart from technology, research in astronomy and in related areas is also of major relevance in the Portuguese space picture. Several research centres and groups are dedicated to studying the skies, cooperating internationally for observation and producing science. As these institutes are also associated to universities, they bridge academia and industry, playing therefore a key role in education.

Although in Portugal there is only one degree specialized in aerospace engineering, universities are opening more vacancies for space related subjects not just in engineering but also in astronomy and astrophysics. There are also law students interested in this area and starting to develop their final papers on space law. Regarding student groups, there is one space associations in Portugal, Euroavia, with two local groups, one in Lisboa and another in Covilhã.

Governmental Policies

It is the Government’s responsibility to define the national strategy plan, including the areas of the European space programmes to invest on. The space opportunities and activities are monitored by a governmental Space Office, whose main role is to assist in the communication between Portuguese companies/institutes and the main European space players, like ESA and the European Commission. The Space Office published a Portuguese Space Catalogue in 2009 with detailed information on space-related companies and research centres. In June 2011, Space Office released an updated version of this Portuguese Space Catalogue.


Country-Specific Events in 2013

  • Seismology of rapidly rotating stars, Porto (5 February): A seminar presentation by François Lignières at CAUP, Porto, discussing recent progresses in modelling the effects of rapid rotation on stellar oscillation modes and their possible application to the mode identification problem.
  • Analysis of the Blandford-Znajek power for a rapidly rotating black hole (14 February): A seminar presentation by Yohsuke Takamori discussing the Blandford-Znajek mechanism, a well-known mechnism to extract the rotational energy of a black hole with a magnetic field.
  • 7th International Workshop on Satellite Constellations and Formation Flying, Lisbon (13-15 March): The main goal of this workshop is to join specialists in the area and promote discussions on the lessons from the past years as well as to present recent results in all of these challenging aspects for future space systems.
  • 7th International Olympiad on Astronomy & Astrophysics IOAA, Volvo, Greece (27 July - 5 August): Portugal will participate for the third time on the IOAA. The aim of the IOAA is to introduce high school students to the marvels of the Cosmos and promote their knowledge in the area of Astronomy and Astrophysics. The Portuguese National Astronomy Olympiad will be held in the Astronomical Observatory of Ribeira Grande (Serra da Estrela) in Fronteira. The winner will represent Portugal in the 7th IOAA. More information coming soon for the regional and national competition in here.
  • Aerospace Week 2013, Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), Lisboa: Created in 2003, Aerospace Week of IST has been trying to be a reference event for innovation for Academia and also Aerospace Industry in Portugal. Its main focus is to establish closer relations between the University and Industry. It gives students the opportunity to understand the aerospace sector and create at an early stage employment relations with the companies in their studies area.


Interesting Web Links for the Young Generation in Portugal

Groups & Entities





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