On 14 November the Portuguese Government deposited its Instrument of Accession to the ESA Convention, making Portugal the 15th Member State of the European Space Agency.
A formal request to become a full Member State was sent by José Mariano Gago, Portugal’s Minister of Science and Technology at the end of 1998. This received full approval by the ESA Council in December 1999.
Portugal has expressed particular interest in contributing to ESA’s activities in space science, and technology and applications. In fact, Portugal is already involved in some of ESA’s optional programmes, such as those in the field of satellite navigation, through a bilateral agreement signed in 1996. In addition, young Portuguese engineers have been able to work at ESA’s establishments through a cooperation programme for training, set up in 1998.
As a member of ESA, Portugal will be able to fully share in the benefits of European cooperation in space activities.