Traditional Space industries, as well as the New Space activity are gathering a new set of players in the ever growing market of Space, via a great deal of new possibilities, namely micro and nanosatellites on Low Earth Orbits and Sun Synchronized Orbits.
Portugal expects to attract investors in the Space industry given the privileged geostrategic position of its Atlantic islands, Madeira and the Azores.
The newly created Portuguese Space Agency (“PSA”) will have its headquarters in Santa Maria, in the Azores, where a microsatellite launching site will be built.
Decree Law no. 16/2019, published on 22 January 2019, establishes the framework for Space exploration in Portugal in line with the Portuguese 2030 Strategy for Space (Estratégia Portugal Espaço 2030), announced in March 2018.
This new legislation regulates the access of players to Portuguese or Portuguese-based space activities, establishes mandatory licensing for launching and return operations, command and control of objects, as well as the obligation of registry with PSA of all objects operating in Space of which Portugal was a launching State.
Procedures are simplified for those willing to undertake a pre-qualification process, which is especially relevant for companies wishing to conduct multiple Space endeavors in the Portuguese jurisdiction. Once the undertakings are recognized as having the necessary requirements to venture into the said Space activities, they will be exempt from further information and disclosure obligations regarding their financial, technical and operational capabilities to lawfully and successfully operate.
The regulatory powers of the PSA include the strategy, supervision and control, as well as the application of fines that may range from €250 to €44.891,81.
The relevance of a solid framework for Space exploration activity is set to impact the Portuguese Space activity, as it may attract foreign investment and boost the national Space industry, which is estimated to be worth presently around €40 million.