The technology multinational GMV, which manages the SSA (Space Situational Awareness) and SST (Space Surveillance and Tracking) programs, has been selected by the European Commission to lead a Coordination and Support Project (CSA) included in the H2020 program for the presentation of proposals for the future development of a European space traffic management (STM) capacity: EUSTM.
Space activity has increased exponentially over the past few decades. The emergence of new public and private actors, as well as new concepts such as small satellites and large constellations, satellite launch services, reusable missiles, etc. pose new challenges. The number of objects in orbit is likely to increase dramatically and therefore capacities will need to be developed to achieve efficient management. There is also an increasing need for legal and regulatory frameworks that build on technological advances and help promote and ensure the desired safety, sustainability and stability of space operations. These frameworks are commonly referred to as Space Traffic Management (STM), while the technology behind them is known as Situation Awareness (SSA) or Space Monitoring and Tracking (SST).
In Europe, responsibility for SSA / OSH programs lies with ESA and the European Commission. The SSA / SST activities are currently focused on creating an architecture of radars, telescopes, single lens reflex stations and data processing centers dedicated to the surveillance and protection of space infrastructures. These systems perform the functions of recognizing, identifying and cataloging objects orbiting the earth. SSA / SST activities also support space missions by ensuring the safety of satellites in orbit and identifying the risks of space objects re-entering the atmosphere. The importance of monitoring and tracking space debris has been demonstrated over the past two decades. The purpose of the national and international initiatives is precisely to address this problem by promoting prevention, improving situational awareness and contributing to the development of active operations to prevent orbital collisions and eliminate accidents.
Europe benefits greatly from the US federal government’s open policies on data access and SSA / SST services through SSA data exchange agreements. However, to ensure its sovereignty, autonomy and leadership in this area and to reduce this dependency, the European Commission has started to work in an independent SSA / SST role and has recently awarded a project to this end under the H2020- EUSTM program to define future European capabilities in space traffic management (STM).
EUSTM aims to empower the public and private space sectors, drive an innovative, competitive and profitable space industry, and contribute to the growth of a research community that develops and implements space infrastructures. EUSTM implements a collaborative platform to promote the exchange of information between team members and also with relevant external actors. The aim of this platform is to create an active community of interests that is an endless source of STM information for the European Commission.
The EUSTM consortium led by GMV consists of the following 18 European companies and institutions: Weber-Steinhaus and Smith (Germany); European Institute for Space Policy (Austria); Spacetec Partners SRL and Qinetiq Space NV (Belgium); GomSpace (Denmark); European Union Satellite Center, ENAIRE and Payload Aerospace, SL (Spain); Iceye Oy (Finland); Eutelsat SA, PriceWaterhouseCoopers Advisory SAS, Office National d’Estudes et de Recherches Aerospatiales, Safran and University of Paris-Saclay (France); AVIO SPA (Italy); and University of Bern, Clearspace SA and Sceye SA (Switzerland).
In addition to leading and coordinating the EUSTM consortium, the company leads the work packages (WP) on SST technology for STM in the EUSTM project.
The EUSTM project, which will last 20 months and end on August 31, 2022, has a total budget of 1,500,000 euros.
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