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ROSA President attends the 56th Session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

on 14 February 2019

The President of the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA), Dr. Phys. Marius-Ioan Piso, is leading Romania’s delegation to the 56th edition of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. The event takes place in Vienna, Austria, between 11 and 22 February 2019.

During the session held on 12 February, Dr. Marius-Ioan Piso made a statement on behalf of the Romanian delegation.

Mr. Piso stated that Romania is actively supporting the Space2030 agenda with its four pillars, namely space economy, space society, space accessibility and space diplomacy.

During the first semester of this year, Romania is the country which is chairing the Council of the European Union. Space is an important item on the agenda of the EU presidency. The European Union developed an ambitious Space Programme and a Strategy, together with the support for the interval 2012 - 2027. The implementation plan for the programme having as major content the systems of navigation (Galileo and EGNOS), Earth Observation (Copernicus), Space Situational Awareness and secure Space communications (GOVSATCOM) might be finalised during the present semester.

Romania’s national space strategy is built around the concept of 3S (Three S’s):

  • Science and technology, including space exploration, are continuously contributing to the humankind evolution via ambitious deep space missions, planetary probes, space telescopes, space station etc.

  • Services, provided by satellite infrastructures and downstream applications, including satellite industry and launch and orbiting services, are a permanent component of the present post-industrial era.

  • Security, which has three major components: citizens protection, provided by disaster management, telemedicine, information security; space infrastructures protection, which make the previous applications possible; and global security against horizontal and vertical conflicts.

Romania committed significant contribution to most of ESA’s current and new exploration, applications and technology programmes. Significant industrial contributions were undertaken for launchers, satellite communications and navigation, precision formation flying, earth observation technology. Space applications have been developed in the frame of the European Commission, where the Horizon 2020 programme is supporting the development and launch of the very successful Copernicus Sentinel satellites, but also the Galileo European GNSS which became operational.

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In terms of space exploration, Mr. Piso mentioned Romania’s involvement in the International Space Station programme and the Euclid and JUICE missions. The Institute of Space Science in Bucharest joined the last year the important LISA collaboration on gravitational waves in preparation of a large space gravitational observatory.

With regards to services, space applications were used for agriculture, telemedicine and disaster monitoring, and forestry high resolution monitoring.

In the area of access to space, Romanian industry saw a growth in participation to the development of the new European launchers Ariane 6 and Vega-C. Romania is also working on the development of a small launcher with capabilities of tenths of kilograms in Low Earth Orbit.

Under security, Romania is a relevant participant in the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) programmes of ESA and the Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) consortium of several EU Member States. The radar system in Cheia, Romania, is expected to become operational this year. It will detect and track space debris and other bodies in the proximity of Earth and it will be open to international cooperation.

Data from the observatory near Surlari is coupled with satellite data to monitor space weather events. Periodic Solar Weather Bulletins are released by the Bucharest group since eleven months.

With regards to Near Earth Objects, Romanian scientists and engineers are involved in the definition of the HERA mission, devoted to asteroid survey and coupled with the DART NASA asteroid impact mission.  Technical progress continued to be recorded in building the Solar coronograph for the PROBA-3 ESA mission.

Regarding climate change, Dr. Piso mentioned the atmospheric lidar ground stations in Bucharest and Iasi, coupled with an airborne system developed by Romanian scientists in cooperation with ESA.  Romania is also participating to the development of ALTIUS – an international mission devoted to ozone concentration measurement.

A ROSA Centre on Space Critical Infrastructures and Security was established, which is also supporting the SPIDER regional support centre in Bucharest.

The President of ROSA mentioned some of the 2018 key events in Romania: the 7th Conference on Space Systems as Critical Infrastructures and the Copernicus and Space Applications conference dedicated to the East European Copernicus users and service providers. On this occasion, he announced the United Nations/Romania International Conference on Space Solutions for Sustainable Agriculture and Precision Farming, to be jointly organised in 2019 by OOSA and the Government of Romania through the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA).

Mr. Piso reaffirmed the importance of public engagement, education and training of new professionals, detailing the activities that took place in Romania in this area.

Dr. Piso expressed the Romanian delegation support of the adoption of the new item “Space and global health”, whereas in terms of long term sustainability of outer space activities, the delegation supported the continuation of the discussions on this important agenda item.

Image credit: ROSA