For the implementation of the EU Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST), established in 2021 as a fully-fledged security subcomponent of the EU Space Programme, the SST Partnership of 15 EU Member States (Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden) together with the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) acting as the EU SST Front Desk form the SST Cooperation.
Previously, EU SST was established as a Support Framework by the SST Decision (2014), which foresaw the creation of an SST Consortium of EU Member States. The Consortium and the European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen) cooperated to gradually develop the SST capability with the support of the EU under different funding lines (i.e. H2020, Galileo & Copernicus programmes). EU SST is now funded by the EU through the EU Space Programme and the Horizon Europe 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 40 sensors of the member states (incl. radars, telescopes and laser ranging stations).
EU SST Sensors Network (July 2022)
The Processing function aims to coordinate the data-sharing between the different OCs via a common database and to process thousands of daily measurements from the sensors contributing to EU SST. These data constitute 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 EUSPA, which acts as Front Desk. More than 190 organisations are receiving these services and more than 400 satellites are safeguarded from the risk of collision. Currently, the 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.