The island of Santa Maria in the Azores is being considered by the aerospace company Airbus as a well-positioned place to build a space base from which rockets will launch small earth satellites into orbit, the Portuguese Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, revealed to the press.
A meeting is being held this Thursday and Friday, on Terceira Island, to discussed Santa Maria as a future “space port” at the highest level in a project co-sponsored by governments of various countries in cooperation with scientists and the aerospace industry.
The short term goal is to create an Atlantic interaction research center which will integrate space, climate, oceans and data science through North-South / South-North cooperation, and the management of sustainable energy data and systems.
According to the Minister of Science, this meeting is the result of work in the last nine months, with workshops organized by Portugal in cooperation with other countries namely the United States, China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Angola, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, Nigeria, Senegal, Spain, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
The project has been designated: International Research Center of the Azores, or Azores International Research Center (AIR Center). Santa Maria island is the southernmost island located in the eastern group among the nine islands of the the Azores.
The Azores (population 250,000) is a region of Portugal composed of nine islands. The archipelago discovered by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century, became an Autonomous Region of Portugal in 1976. The government of the Autonomous Region of the Azores includes the Legislative Assembly, composed of 57 elected deputies, elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term; the Regional Government and Presidency, with parliamentary legitimacy, composed of a President, a Vice-President and seven Regional Secretaries responsible for the Regional Government executive operations. The Autonomous Region of the Azores is represented in the Council of Ministers of the Central Government by a representative appointed by the President of Portugal. According to the latest US census over 1.3 million individuals of Portuguese descent live in the United States, the majority with roots in the Azores. It is estimated that over 20,000 US citizens live in Portugal.