Chiara Manfletti was appointed today as the first President of the Portuguese Space Agency(Portugal Space), being Luís Santos its vice president. The nominations were made during the agency's 1st General Assembly, which met today (Friday, March 22nd) at the agency's facilities at the Palácio das Laranjeiras in Lisbon with the presence of the four founding members, namely the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), the National Innovation Agency (ANI), the Directorate General of National Defense Resources (DGRDN) and the Autonomous Region of the Azores through the RAEGE Azores Association - Atlantic Network of Geodynamic and Space Stations. Minister Manuel Heitor participated at the end of the meeting, having discussed with the agency's founders the terms of the agreements made with the European Space Agency (ESA) so that the Portuguese space agency can perform the functions of an "ESA hub" in terms of a "double tutelage" between Portugal and the ESA.
Chiara Manfletti has dual Italian and German nationality, holds a degree in aeronautical engineering from Imperial College London (2001), an MSc in "space studies" from the International Space University (ISU) Strasbourg (2002), and a PhD from the German University of Aachen (2009). She also has a degree in History from the Open University in the UK (2003). She worked at the French company SNECMA, at the German space agency, DLR, and later joined the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2016, where in recent years she has been advisor to the Director General at the agency's headquarters in Paris.
Chiara Manfletti is the 3rd woman to chair a space agency globally, after Pascale Ehrenfreund, who was president of the German space agency (DLR) between 2015 and 2017, and Megan Clark, who was recently appointed in 2018 as president of the Australian space agency upon its creation last year.
Luís Santos has a degree in Electrotechnical Engineering from IST, and has been the Coordinator of the Azores Mission Structure for Space, now part of the Portuguese space agency.
The 1st General Assembly of the Portuguese Space Agency (Portugal Space) this Friday, March 22nd, took place after the Deed of Incorporation of the Portuguese Space Agency last Monday, March 17th, in Ponta Delgada, Azores, in the presence of Minister Manuel Heitor and the President of the Azores Regional Government, Vasco Cordeiro, and the respective founding associates of Portugal Space. The creation of the Portuguese Space Agency was approved on March 7 by the Council of Ministers, and is the result of a partnership between the Government of Portugal and the Regional Government of the Azores, with the collaboration of the ESA.
The "Portugal Space" National Agency is responsible for promoting and implementing the "Portugal Space 2030" Strategy and to articulate the management of the various national programs related to space, fostering investment, the creation of qualified jobs and the provision of services related to space sciences and technologies in close articulation with the European Space Agency and with the development process of the International Atlantic Research Centre (AIR Centre). It also aims to boost the European space panorama through international cooperation, namely with ESA and other European space agencies. It is also responsible for implementing and promoting the AZORES International Satellite launch Programme (AZORES ISLP), in partnership with ESA.
Portugal Space is headquartered on Santa Maria Island in the Azores and has facilities in Lisbon, at the Palácio das Laranjeiras. It aims to stimulate the space sector in Portugal, creating conditions for the development of national capacity and skills in the space industry, namely the New Space Industries, but also scientific research, innovation, education and scientific culture, as far as space is concerned.