Press Release

Record number of participants attend Portuguese Space Forum

By SpaceRef Editor
July 1, 2009
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An estimated 150 people attended the third Portuguese Space Forum that took place today at the Pavilhao do Conhecimento – Ciencia Viva in Lisbon; a sign of the growing importance of the space industry in Portugal.

This one-day event was opened by Mariano Gago, Portuguese Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education and Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director General. In his opening remarks, Jean-Jacques Dordain said, “There are no small countries for ESA. All Member States are important. Today, nine years after Portugal joined ESA, Portugal is present in almost all ESA programmes. Therefore, we at ESA cannot do without Portugal anymore”.

Immediately after the official opening, Jean-Jacques Dordain gave an overview of ESA programmes and the outcome of the ESA Council at Ministerial level, held in November 2008.

It is almost 10 years since Portugal became a Member State of ESA. In that time, the Portuguese space industry has grown steadily and now more then 30 companies and 10 institutes work in close collaboration with the Agency.

The Portuguese Space Forum, organised by the Space Office of Fundacao para a Ciencia e Tecnologia (FCT) with the support of Ciencia Viva, a national agency promoting scientific culture in Portugal, provides a valuable opportunity for ESA experts to meet with the Portuguese space community to discuss space opportunities, emerging space technologies and new areas for space applications.

In the afternoon’s plenary sessions, dedicated to space applications and technology, the focus was on Earth observation, telecommunications, satellite navigation, space technology and integrated applications. Each session was then followed by a general discussion moderated by a Portuguese delegate.

On view throughout the day were exhibits by 15 companies, five institutes and one association. Cork insulation material, a magnetometer and an Earth observation satellite are just some examples of the objects on display.

When asked for his views on this year’s Space Forum, Mariano Gago, Portuguese Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education said, “ESA has provided the best atmosphere for cooperation between universities and industry. As a result of that, a major part of the Portuguese technological companies are in the space field, all due to collaboration with the Agency.

For more information please contact:

Pedro Baptista, Head of the Office for Support to new Member States at ESA

Javier Ventura-Traveset, Head of the ESAC Communication and Education Office at ESA

SpaceRef staff editor.