What is EU SST?
The safety and security of European economies, societies and citizens rely on space-based applications such as communication, navigation and observation. However, due to the growing complexity of the orbital environment, space-based assets are increasingly at risk from collision with other operational spacecraft or debris. At the same time, objects may re-enter and cause damage on the ground. To mitigate these risks, we need to be able to survey and track such objects, and to provide this information to a variety of stakeholders.
Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) is part of the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) component of the EU Space Programme, adopted by the European Union in 2021 with the Regulation (EU) 2021/696 of the European Parliament and of the Council. This Regulation foresaw the creation of an SST Partnership, which is composed, after the signature of the SST Partnership Agreement, of Constituting National Entities representing 15 EU Member States – Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden. An SST system is a network of ground-based and space-based sensors capable of surveying and tracking space objects, together with processing capabilities aiming to provide data, information and services on space objects that orbit around the Earth.
The SST Partnership and the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) acting as the EU SST Front Desk work together to develop the European SST Capability. The Partnership’s Member States have networked their assets to provide, through the SST Service Provision Portal operated by EUSPA, a set of SST services to all EU Member States, EU institutions, spacecraft owners and operators, and other public and private entities. The SST services assess the risk of in-orbit collisions and uncontrolled re-entry of space debris into the Earth’s atmosphere, and detect and characterise in-orbit fragmentations.
The SST Partnership EU Member States are represented through their Constituting National Entities: Austria (FFG), Czech Republic (MDCR), Denmark (RDAF), Finland (FMI), France (CNES), Germany (German Space Agency at DLR), Greece (NOA), Italy (ASI), Latvia (IZM), the Netherlands (EZK), Poland (POLSA), Portugal (PT MoD), Romania (ROSA), Spain (AEE) and Sweden (SNSA).