ESA - European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) was established with a mission to promote space science, research and technology space applications, providing the necessary support to the development of the associated industries and services.

The ESA, that in the 1960's replaced the ESRO (European Space Research Organization) gathers at present 15 European States (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom), Canada taking part in some projects. Portugal joined the ESA as a full member in 2000.

The main key sections of the ESA activity include science development programs regarding launchers, telecommunications, navigation and earth observation.

Each program is incumbent upon a specialized management committee, therein being represented an Agency executive and the participating member states. In addition to these bodies, there are some horizontal committees, such as the finance committee and a Council, the supreme governing body.

The representation of Portugal at Council level is devolved upon the GRICES - Science and Higher Education International Relations Cabinet, under the supervision of the Ministry for Science and Higher Education.

The representation at the management committees of the different programs is incumbent upon bodies that, having regard to their nature and functions, are related to the respective specific concerns.

Thus ANACOM has been assigned the national representation at the Committee for the Telecommunication Programs Management (Joint Communications Board - JCB). As a result of the recent strategic considerations developed by the ESA executive board and the JCB, a new Long Term Development Plan was established, in order to improve the competitive position achieved by Europe in the area of aerospace applications. Thus, this Plan comprises the period from 2002 to 2006, and establishes an additional financial effort of €1.500 million from the Member States. Pursuant to the Joint Order no. 215/2002 of 28 February, of the Ministries for Social Equipment, for the Economy and for Science and Technology, the amount of the increase of Portugal's participation, as regards the referred additional financial effort, was set at 7,5 million euros, to be assured by ANACOM.


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