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.
The Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) Support Framework was established by the European Union in 2014 with the Decision 541/2014/EU of the European Parliament and the Council (SST Decision). This Decision foresaw the creation of an SST Consortium of, initially, five EU Member States – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom – and then eight with the addition of Poland, Portugal and Romania in 2018. SST refers to the capacity to detect, catalogue and predict the movements of space objects orbiting the Earth.
Since 2016, the SST Consortium and the European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen) have worked together to develop a European SST capability, and formed the SST Cooperation. The Consortium’s Member States have networked their assets to provide, through the SST Service Provision Portal operated by SatCen, a set of SST services to all EU countries, EU institutions, spacecraft owners and operators, and civil protection authorities.
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 Consortium EU Member States are represented through their national designated entities: France (CNES), Germany (DLR), Italy (ASI), Poland (POLSA), Portugal (PT MoD), Romania (ROSA), Spain (CDTI) and United Kingdom (UKSA).