Space Surveillance And Tracking Consortium Agreement
Since 2016, the SST consortium and the European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen) have been working together to develop a European OSH capacity and form OSH cooperation. Consortium Member States have networked their assets to provide a number of OSH services to all EU countries, EU institutions, space vehicle owners and operators, as well as civil protection authorities, via the OSH services portal operated by SatCen. Despite the (potential) end-user and (potential) owner of the sensor providing the data, the European institutions have clarified that the services are not intended to serve purely military purposes. Purely „unseined” military targets may belong to those that have already been identified as part of AED`s studies on a space situational awareness (SSA) system.SSA stands for Space Situational Awareness and SST is one of the SSA segments, the other two are Near Earth Objects and Space Weather. „Summary of European SSA civil and military user requirements” developed jointly by ASE and AED, 2011, including the identification of intentional threats and hostile acts in space or military reconnaissance. There are two main reasons for this. Apart from the fact that the Commission has no competence in military matters (firstly), national actors are extremely cautious and even sceptical when it comes to managing the development and use of a sensitive system for a supranational entity, whether communicative or even intergovernmental (second reason). Despite its intergovernmental nature, Member States appeared to be building on the decision taken in 2012 by the ESA Council of Ministers in 2012, to entrust the European Space Agency with the development of an OSH service that focused financial assistance on the two „less sensitive” segments of the SSA programme, including SW (space weather) and NEO (near-Earth objectsDEcisions of the ESA Council of Ministers 2012, countries that have participated in SSA segments and that participate in the related budget allocation. ESA website and ESA interview, 2015. The partial vacuum left by ESA in the field of SSS is being filled by the EU.
Based on the data processed, SST provides services such as risk assessment and the provision of information and alerts on actual and anticipated incidents in space related to space debris. Such incidents may include collisions and fragmentation of orbiting objects or uncontrolled re-entry of space debris into the Earth`s atmosphere. This information is provided, inter alia, to the EU institutions, Member States and satellite operators. Originally, only the leading European states – Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom – were represented by their national space agencies, the members of the consortium. At the end of 2018, Romania, Portugal and Poland joined this group. Poland is represented by the representatives of the Polish Space Agency.