ESA’s Space Situational Awareness Preparatory Program

ESA’s Space Situational Awareness Preparatory Program (SSA-PP) was authorized at the November 2008 ESAi Ministerial Council and formally launched on 1 January 2009.

The objective of the program is to support Europe's independent utilization of, and access to, space through the provision of timely and accurate information, data and services regarding the space environment - particularly with regard to hazards posed to space related assets in orbit and on the ground.

These hazards stem, in general, from:

  • Harmful Space Weatheri.
  • Possible collisions between objects in orbit.
  • Potential strikes by natural objects that cross Earth’s orbit.

The European SSA program is active in three main areas:

  • Monitoring space weatheri - comprising particles and radiation coming from the Sun that can affect communications, navigation systems and other networks in space and on the ground.
  • Survey and tracking of objects in Earth orbit - comprising active and inactive satellites, discarded launch stages and fragmentation debris that orbit the Earth.
  • Watching for near-Earth objects - comprising natural objects that can potentially impact Earth and cause damage. Also, assessing their associated impact risk and considering mitigation measures.