Nathalie Loiseau, Chair of the SEDE Committee, highlights SatCen’s value during a delegation visit to Spain
“SatCen is a growing seed of the European Union, contributing to the sovereignty of Europe in matters of satellite imagery analysis and to our security from space and in space”, - Nathalie Loiseau, Chair of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence (SEDE) of the European Parliament
On 22 September 2021, SatCen had the distinct honour of welcoming a delegation of the SEDE Committee, led by Chair Nathalie Loiseau. The European Parliamentarian delegation included Mr Lukas Mandl, SEDE 3rd Vice-Chair and MEP’s Mr Javi López, Ms Isabel Santos, Mr Javier Nart, and Ms Mazaly Aguilar.
The visit provided an opportunity to demonstrate the activities and capabilities of the Centre and helped deepen understanding of SatCen’s role as an autonomous asset for Member States, and a contributor to key debates like the forthcoming Strategic Compass to which SatCen contributes to all four baskets: crisis management, resilience, partnerships and capability development.
In a comprehensive introduction of SatCen, Director Sorin Ducaru discussed the strategic aspect of space, underlining the agency’s operational crossover of providing both Security from Space, through its core mission of geospatial analysis, and Security of Space, through its role as Front Desk of the EU SST.
In response to the delegation’s recognition of SatCen products as “highly relevant in today’s context”, Director Sorin Ducaru and Deputy Director Louis Tillier discussed SatCen’s resilience, the value of human assets and the Centre’s culture of innovation, driven by the Centre’s IT department.
The delegation was further briefed by Mr Alvaro Rodríguez, Head of Operations, on SatCen's use of space-based assets, highlighting the ability to provide analysis tailored to the wide range of users and the resulting synergies from the Centre's unique operational mechanism. Among other topics, Mr Rodríguez pedagogically defined geospatial intelligence and provided relevant examples of operational support for different topics and areas. The delegation had the opportunity to go inside SatCen’s Operational Room, where they experienced firsthand the imagery analysis performed by the Centre, and the autonomy it provides for decision-making.
Additionally, the SEDE Committee Delegation was reminded of SatCen’s close cooperation with the Commission under the Copernicus Programme. Ms Alessandra Ussorio, Deputy Head of the Copernicus Unit, discussed the close alignment between SatCen’s mission with the new Space Programme. Ms Ussorio presented the SatCen services that are part of the Copernicus Security Programme, underlining the unique value-added of the SatCen-Commission cooperation in the establishment of an EU earth observation and monitoring capability for enhanced Situational Awareness, that ensures complementarities and improved and integrated response to user needs.
Mr Alexis Letulier, Head of IT Division, discussed the Centre’s role within the EU geospatial intelligence community as an active member in both the development and sharing of specific capabilities. Mr Letulier illustrated the integration of operational analysis with IT development and services, displaying how operational Artificial Intelligence, along with the development of additional focused applications, can empower imagery experts to conduct their analysis more efficiently.
In what concerns Security of Space, Mr Joao Alves, Head of the SSA Unit, discussed the Centre’s unique role as EU SST Front Desk, providing timely and relevant examples of the core SST services: Collision avoidance, Re-entry analysis and Fragmentation analysis. In this context, Mr Alves highlighted future perspectives and reaffirmed SatCen’s expectations of continuity regarding SST services, based on its strong links to member States, long-standing experience and expertise in both security and SST service provision.
The delegation showed an ardent interest in the Centre’s full range of activities. Upon the conclusion of the visit, Ms Nathalie Loiseau stated:
“SatCen is a tremendous asset for our European sovereignty. It supports crisis management, CSDP missions, Humanitarian assistance, border control and much more. We are lucky to have started developing this instrument providing security from space and security in space. The European Parliament will continue paying attention to the activities of SatCen and make sure that it is sufficiently funded and supported”.
Watch the full statement below.