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Security-related Programmes Space Situational Awareness (SSA)

Space Situational Awareness (SSA) is a coordinated effort to detect and track space objects in orbit around the Earth, as well as monitor natural phenomena that could cause damage to satellites in orbit, to ground-based infrastructure and to people. Under the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Programme, Europe is acquiring the capability to independently watch for objects and natural phenomena that could harm satellites in orbit or infrastructure – such as power grids – on the ground.

ESA’s Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Programme was authorised at the November 2008 Ministerial Council and formally launched on 1 January 2009. The mandate was extended at the 2012 Ministerial Council until 2019 and the programme is funded through to 2016.

After an initial three-year period to 2011, full operational services will be implemented in 2012-19 upon approval. At present the SSA programme is being implemented as an optional programme with financial participation by 13 ESA Member States (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom). Represented by the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA), Romania subscribed to ESA's SSA programme in November 2012.

In general, the overall SSA system will include:

  • Sensors - located on the ground and in space
  • Data centres (one per Segment) - to receive and correlate sensor data
  • Management system (including a dedicated data centre) - to conduct overall system control and data distribution
  • Service centres (one per Segment) - to deliver data products, warnings and alerts to SSA customers
  • Learn more at:

Participation in SSA programmes not only benefits human kind, but it is also beneficial for the science, industry and economy of our country.

Specific ESA programmes Romania is involved in:

  • SWE - Space weather: Monitoring conditions at the Sun and in the solar wind, and in Earth's magnetosphere, ionosphere and thermosphere, that can affect space-borne and ground-based infrastructure or endanger human life or health.
  • NEO - Near-Earth objects: Detecting natural objects that can potentially impact Earth and cause damage


SSA - near Earth objects. Image credit: ESA - P.Carril

ROSA SSA events

In order to raise SSA visibility and understanding from the general public, but especially from the Romanian scientific community and industry, which could get involved, ROSA organised/is organising the following events:

Romanian SSA Community (March 2013)

Between 15-21 March 2013 a survey was developed by ROSA to identify the relevant organizations in Romania with potential and interest to get involved in the SSA Programme, aiming to facilitate parnerships with EU organizations on future SSA projects, with priority to those following under ESA Tenders. More than 50 organizations were invited to express their interest and send their CV's regarding their potential in SSA topics. For now, 21 organizations expressed their interest in future SSA activities (Romanian SSA Community).

Romanian SSA Community presentations

Bilateral ESA/SSA – Romania "Industry Day" (March 07 2013)

Given that Romania is a new member and contributor to SSA, ESA and ROSA organized an "Industry Day" in Romania, a real opportunity for ESA to present the SSA programme to the Romanian industrial and research community and identify among Romanian representatives potential involvement and assets. 21organizations (industrial agents, research institutes, universities) and 45 participants were present from the Romanian side and eight representatives from ESA: Space Situational Awareness Programme Manager, SSA Space Weather Manager, SSA NEO Segment manager, Space Surveillance and Tracking Managerl, SSA Ground Segment Manager and SSA Governance and Data Policy Manager.

Meeting Agenda.

The ESA presentations can be consultated at ROSA HQ according to ESA policy.

The International Conference on Solar and Heliospheric Influences on the Geospace (1-5 October 2012), an event organized by Institute of Geodynamics of Romanian Academy in collaboration with ROSA. The following presentations on SSA topics were contributed:

  • Heliophysics: Anatomy of Solar Anger, Dr. Ilia Roussev
  • Where communication and space weather meet, Dr. Petra Vanlommel,
  • Space weather data and services at ROB/SIDC, Dr. Ingolf Dammasch
  • Interstellar Neutral Atoms and Their Journey through the Heliosphere, Dr. Elena Moise
  • COMESEP Project: Space Weather Impact forecasting, Dr. Olga Malandraki
  • Heliophysical research in Greece: the space weather perspective, Dr. Olga Malandraki
  • Long term solar and geomagnetic activity. Consequences on the terrestrial climate at regional scale, Dr. Venera Dobrica

International workshop on Space, Science, Technology and Applications (September 2012) The following presentations on SSA topics were contributed:

  • Marco Polo-R – Sample return mission for Near-Earth Asteroids, in study to ESA, Dr. Mirel Birlan
  • Solar and stellar surveyor space telescopes, Dr. Cristiana Dumitrache
  • Observing Near-Earth Asteroids in the frame of Space Situational Awareness, Drd. M. Popescu
  • Romanian experiments for Ionosphere and Earth orbits monitoring, O. Cristea.
  • The "First IAA Conference on Space Systems as Critical Infrastructures" (September 2012).

The workshop "Space Situational Awareness - SSA" (April 2012)

"The International Planetary Defense Conference" Conference" (May 2011)

"Future of Planetary Defense", addressed to young people and students (May 2011)

The workshop "Future Small Bodies Missions: Discussing the Synergies Between" (May 2011)