29 September 2011. An international seminar on current and future developments relating to the European Space Situational Awareness (SSA) system was held today in Warsaw, under the auspices of the Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union. ESPI was invited to participate and present its views and analysis on the space policy and strategy aspects of this issue.

Poland, which currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, has demonstrated a vivid interest in the space policy issue area. In this context, it organised the Warsaw Seminar on Space Situational Awareness (details here). This significant event in the field of European SSA attracted high level participation from several European Institutions, such as the European Union Commission and the European External Action Service [EEAS], the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Defence Agency (EDA), the European Union Satellite Centre (EUSC) and others. Furthermore, participants included several EU and ESA Member States that presented their own capabilities and potential contributions to a European SSA system. Finally, the international character of the event was underpinned by the participation of the United States' Department of State that provided an overview of U.S operational SSA capabilities and related policy objectives, including its approach on international cooperation on the subject.

The seminar's fruitful sessions provided an excellent opportunity for all space stakeholders involved to present their views on the technical and policy aspects of developing an SSA system for Europe. Particular emphasis was given to already existing national capabilities, as well as to ways to federate their use in order to increase operational synergies and avoid research and development duplication on a European level. Special attention was also paid to the enhanced cooperation among the European Council, ESA and EDA on determining the system's specific financial, operational and technical requirements, for example through ESA's SSA Preparatory Programme. On the operational side of the issue, SSA relevance to meeting European space weather forecasting and NEOs tracking needs was also discussed. Finally, space policy and strategy issues, such as the role of international cooperation on SSA, were examined as well.

ESPI was invited to contribute to the seminar's second panel on “Surveillance and Tracking: Existing Infrastructure and Services”, during which ESPI Resident Fellow Spyros Pagkratis discussed the Institute’s analysis of the conditions and prospects for developing a unified European SSA system. His approach was focused on the financial, operational and governance challenges associated with European SSA, focusing on the need to clearly identify the system’s operational and strategic environment, scope, and capabilities, in order to maximize its efficiency and cost effectiveness.

ESPI Resident Fellow Spyros Pagkratis during his presentation.

The speakers of the Seminar on Space Situational Awareness.


- Warsaw Seminar on Space Situational Awareness Announcement and Agenda
- ESPI Presentation on “SSA Development in Europe: a Think Tank Perspective”

Photo credit: ESPI

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