The abundance of satellites is not only responsible for "an unprecedented space traffic jam" but it’s also the cause of a large amount of space debris which is increasing at an alarming rate.
According to the European Commission, over 1 million debris items larger than 1cm are currently orbiting the Earth ranging from screws and dead satellites to space rocket components. To address the issue of space congestion, and as space debris can damage and potentially take out EU-owned functioning satellites such as Galileo, Copernicus, and EGNOS and privately owned, the Union recently proposed a holistic approach to Space Traffic Management.
To support this initiative and given its expertise in service provision and security issues management, EUSPA, as of 1 July, will be operating the Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) Front Desk, following a European Commission’s Decision of 3 June 2022.
What will EUSPA do?
The EU SST Front Desk team will continue interfacing with SST users – which include spacecraft owners and operators, EU institutions and EU Member States – to support them in using the dedicated Portal and benefitting from their services. The Front Desk also provides service performance information to certain stakeholders and promotes the use of the SST services.
Together with the EU SST Partnership composed of 15 EU Member States, EUSPA will support the provision of space safety services to more than 190 registered organisations and contribute to the coordination of space traffic by protecting more than 400 satellites from the risk of collision with space debris or other operational satellites. Moreover, they will be detecting and monitoring break-ups in space and the uncontrolled re-entry of space objects into Earth’s atmosphere.
The transfer from the previous operator, SatCen, was performed seamlessly to minimize as much as possible the impact on users. Following the switch-over, services are being provided as expected, and the new contact details of the SST Helpdesk have been communicated to the users.
The new premises of the EU SST Front Desk are located at EUSPA’s Galileo Security Monitoring Centre (GSMC) in San Martín de la Vega, Madrid, Spain.
"By managing the EU SST front desk, EUSPA contributes to the EU Space Traffic Management approach, as to support developing an EU strategy to ensure safe and sustainable use of space while preserving the EU space industry’s competitiveness" highlights EUSPA Executive Director Rodrigo da Costa.
“The EU SST Partnership is committed to delivering public services in collision avoidance, re-entry and fragmentation analysis, through the EU SST Front Desk, to improve safety of space operations and contribute to the long-term sustainability of outer space activities. Together with EUSPA, we will continue to put the users at the centre of our commitment,” declared Pascal Faucher, Chairman, EU SST Partnership, Defence and security, CNES.
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