6 September 2007. European experts in the field of Space Situational Awareness (SSA) gathered at ESPI to discuss key aspects of a future European SSA System.
Being in a state of Space Situational Awareness refers to knowing the location and function of space objects and sensing different kinds of space related threats. This is crucial to protect space assets and to ensure their smooth operation. Currently, Europe does not have an autonomous capability for SSA. Some systems for Space Surveillance exist at national level, but they just provide part of the necessary information. For the time being, a bigger SSA picture can only be sketched with data that is provided from abroad, mainly from the US. However, efforts to set up a European SSA system are underway.
Against this background, ESPI gathered leading experts from space agencies and other public space related entities, research institutions and industry to discuss important topics and challenges for the implementation of a European SSA system, such as data policy issues, institutional questions and political boundary conditions.The meeting was part of the ESPI study on “Europe’s Way to SSA”, whose project manager Wolfgang Rathgeber moderated the discussion. According to Luca del Monte, the ESA responsible in this field, ESPI’s activities will provide a significant contribution to shape the decision on a future European SSA system. The final study report of ESPI is scheduled for early next year.