For the implementation of the EU SST Support Framework, established in 2014 with the SST Decision, the SST Consortium of initially five (France – CNES, Germany – DLR, Italy – ASI, Spain – CDTI, United Kingdom – UKSA) and currently eight (additionally Poland – POLSA, Portugal – MoD, Romania – ROSA) EU Member States signed an SST Implementing Arrangement with the European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen) forming the SST Cooperation.
The SST Cooperation since its initial establishment in 2015 has been gradually developing the SST capability with the support of the European Union under different funding lines (H2020, Galileo & Copernicus programmes).
The SST capability consists of three main functions: sensor, processing and service provision. Sensors from Member States contribute data that is analysed in the processing function and feeds a joint database and ultimately a catalogue; from this, products are derived for three services, generated by the Operations Centres (OCs) and delivered to users via the SST Service Provision Portal (SST Portal).
The Sensor function consists of a network of sensors to survey and track space objects in all orbital regimes (LEO, MEO, HEO and GEO). The network currently comprises 51 sensors of the Member States of the SST Consortium (incl. radars, telescopes and laser ranging stations).
EU SST Sensors Network
The Processing function aims to coordinate between the OCs, the data-sharing and processing & analysing of shared data to generate the future EU SST Catalogue. Every day, for all orbital regimes, thousands of measurements from the sensors contributing to EU SST are shared via a common database accessible to the OCs. This data constitutes the basis for a future EU SST Catalogue that will be used for the SST services. Germany is responsible for hosting the EU SST database and generating the future EU SST Catalogue.
The Service Provision function is in charge of providing three SST services – Collision Avoidance (CA), Re-entry Analysis (RE) and Fragmentation Analysis (FG) – to entitled users through a secure portal, the SST Service Provision Portal, managed by the SatCen, which acts as Front Desk. More than 90 organisations are receiving these services and 140+ European satellites are safeguarded from the risk of collision. Currently, French and Spanish OCs are responsible for the CA service, while the Italian OC is in charge of the RE and FG services.
EU SST Architecture
The three aforementioned functions and the SST services provided continue being developed with the support of the European Union towards an autonomous European capability able to safeguard the European economies, societies and citizens that rely on space-based applications such as communication, navigation and observation.