“The Azores Strategy for Space seeks to synthesise this ecosystem that we intend to create in the area of Space. The launch of suborbitals is one of these elements”, said the undersecretary of the Presidency, in the presentation of the conclusions of the Government Council (PSD/CDS-PP/PPM).

Faria e Castro was speaking to journalists in Vila do Porto, Santa Maria, where the regional executive is carrying out a statutory visit.

The official detailed that, among the “next steps” of space policy, is the launch of suborbital flights, which the executive intends to materialise from October 2023.

Suborbitals are spaceflights that reach space but cross the atmosphere without making the complete orbit of the planet.

The regional undersecretary noted that the operations should be taken over by private operators.

As he said, the Regional Government “has to create the conditions for operators to feel duly attracted” to invest in the Azores.

“The objective of the government is to create the conditions. The majority and generality of the actions to be developed will be developed by private companies. This has a very important economic context and it is not up to the government to assume its implementation”, he reinforced.

Faria e Castro highlighted that the Azores Strategy for Space gives "priority" to the island of Santa Maria, the easternmost of the archipelago.

“The island of Santa Maria is prioritized geographically for the Azores Space Strategy, but it is not just the island of Santa Maria that should make a contribution to the strategy. All nine islands have, in one way or another, the possibility of becoming an important contribution to this strategy”, he pointed out.

On Sunday, the coordinator of the Azores Mission Structure for Space (EMA-Espaço) said that the Santa Maria Space Technological Center, which will receive the 'Space Rider' landing, will start up in the first half of 2023.

Paulo Quental added that that center will be installed in the area of the karting track in Vila do Porto, with “necessities being studied” to accommodate the landing of the 'Space Rider', the space shuttle of the European Space Agency (ESA).