Portuguese companies contracted by ESA to develop the new Copernicus satellites

The terrestrial observation program Copernicus has been helping scientists to respond to challenges such as climate change, natural disasters or even to understand the changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, five Portuguese companies have won contracts from the European Space Agency for six new Copernicus program missions that represent the development of at least 12 satellites, advances Lusa.

The contracts comprise the investment undertaken by ESA and the European Union in the total amount of 2.5 billion euros. According to the space agency Portugal Space, the ones chosen were Active Space Technologies, Critical Software, Deimos Engenharia, Frezite High Performance and the Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering (INEGI). The companies will develop some of the components of the new Copernicus program missions, including new satellites.

Financing for the full development of Copernicus is dependent on the negotiation of the next European Union Multiannual Financial Framework. The decision to contract the construction of the new satellites came after ESA member states had approved and subscribed to the new phase of the program at the Space19 + Ministerial Conference in late 2019.

At the meeting, Portugal subscribed a total of five million euros to Copernicus, with the aim of giving Portuguese companies the opportunity to lead the development of relevant subsystems for the missions.

One of the main objectives of the Portuguese space agency is to create new highly qualified jobs, and the choice of five Portuguese companies within the scope of Copernicus means that we are working on the “right path”.

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