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Artist impression of an upper-stage rocket explosion, producing debris

Meeting Europe's security needs

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ESA / About Us / Law at ESA / Ministerial Council 2008

The Space Council has highlighted the essential need to develop increased synergies with the security and defence sectors, and to intensify the dialogue with relevant institutions (European Commission, General Secretariat of the Council, European Defence Agency, ESA and Member States) and plan appropriate programmatic activities.

Space Situational Awareness (SSA)

The Space Situational Awareness (SSA) initiative will contribute to the protection of European space systems, in particular those related to operational services, against space debris and solar flares (space weather). This will help guarantee the availability of such services by providing timely and quality information on the space environment, threats and the sustainable exploitation of outer space surrounding Earth.

Representation of known satellites and objects orbiting Earth
Representation of known satellites and objects orbiting Earth

The programme proposal will consist of one core element covering governance, data policy, data security, architecture and space surveillance, and three additional optional elements: space weather (monitoring and forecasting effects of radiation, ionospheric perturbation, geomagnetic disturbances and currents induced in large pipeline networks, for instance) and near-Earth object surveillance; bread-boarding of radar components in close coordination with the General Support Technology Programme; pilot data centres.

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