In addition to its expanding role in astronomy and planetary sciences, ESAC has ambitious plans for future activities in additional areas. ESA’s Exploration initiative for the next decade, for example, will profit from the activities and facilities managed by ESAC.
Another field with a great growing potential is surveillance in the complete region of near-Earth space. Recent studies have concluded that surveillance of the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) region, and up to and including the geostationary ring, could be carried out by radar facilities located in Southern Europe, plus optical telescopes. With the advantages provided by its geographical location, ESAC has the potential to be a fundamental element in any future space-surveillance network.
ESAC will also soon be more involved in Earth-observation activities. The Spanish national centre for ESA’s Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission will be located at ESAC. To be launched in 2008, SMOS has been designed to observe soil moisture over the Earth’s land masses and salinity over its oceans, which are exactly the kinds of data urgently needed by experts studying the global climate system.
Last update: 8 September 2009