Why is this relevant?
In an era of increasing reliance on space-based services, space is essential for the strategic autonomy of the EU and its Member States. Economies, citizens, and public policies here on Earth increasingly depend on services and data in and from space. The Space Situational Awareness component of the EU Space Programme is therefore instrumental for providing accurate information on the space environment and for helping to ensure the proper and uninterrupted functioning of space-based services.
Definition of Space Situational Awareness (SSA):
SSA means a holistic approach, including comprehensive knowledge and understanding, of the main space hazards, encompassing collisions between space objects, fragmentation and re-entry of space objects into the atmosphere, space weather events, and near-Earth objects.
Space Situational Awareness or ‘SSA’ covers the following subcomponents:
- Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST): a system of networked sensors to survey and track space objects together with processing capabilities to provide data, information and services on objects that orbit the Earth
- Near-Earth Objects (NEO): capabilities to monitor the risk of natural space objects approaching the Earth, such as asteroids and comets
- Space Weather Events (SWE): capabilities to monitor space weather and solar activity
What does SSA aim to achieve?
SSA aims at enhancing capabilities to
- monitor, track and identify space objects and space debris with the aim of further increasing the performance and autonomy of capabilities under the SST subcomponent at EU level
- map and network Member States’ capacities under the NEO subcomponent
- provide SWE services.
By enhancing these capabilities, SSA also fosters the development of a strong Union space economy: It supports the space ecosystem, particularly European SMEs and startups, by encouraging competitiveness, innovation, and entrepreneurship, and by supporting skills and capacity-building in all EU Member States.