Visit of Mr Vlad Gheorghe, MEP, to SatCen
On 29 October 2021, SatCen was delighted to welcome Mr Vlad Gheorghe, Member of the European Parliament. SatCen Director Sorin Ducaru welcomed the MEP along with a team of specialized staff.
Mr Gheorghe was given an overview of the Centre’s activities, including SatCen’s role for the CFSP/CSDP, and was presented specific applications related to Romania, both in terms of security and defence, but also in more civilian matters such as environmental monitoring. In his briefing, Director Ducaru discussed the interesting and ever-relevant nexus between security and space, highlighting the role of space in providing security on earth. In this same breath, the road ahead for SatCen was presented, in the context of an EU growing level of ambition, increased user demand and the leveraging of new and cutting edge technologies. In this sense, the Centre’s culture of innovation and constant development was displayed through the role of the IT department in application development for the efficiency of analysts´ work.
Mr Álvaro Rodríguez, Head of Operations, provided an operational overview. Noteworthy among the issues addressed was SatCen’s provision of situational awareness for EU Missions and Operations, such as EUNAVFOR MED ATALANTA or IRINI. An in-depth explanation of SatCen’s understanding and usage of geospatial Intelligence was also provided with the effort of displaying the Centre’s full capacity, and expertise of its staff when it comes to responding to different tasks and urgent timelines.
Mr Denis Bruckert, Head of Copernicus Unit, highlighted SatCen’s relationship with the Commission, discussing the key objectives of the EU Space Programme, and its perfect alignment with SatCen’s current mission. Mr Bruckert presented the current and future operational services provided by the division, and underlined the value of geospatial analysis for both, supporting and guiding, actions on the ground. In complementarity, Ms Roberta Onori, Imagery Analyst, discussed specific applications such as the pilot project with Romania regarding illegal waste management. Mr Gheroghe was able to see firsthand the GEOINT analysis performed for environment protection and illegal activities, understand the complexity of such analysis as well as its value and future implications.
The visit ended in the Space Situational Awareness Room, where Space Surveillance and Tracking activities were seen. Mr João Alves, Head of SSA/SST deep dived into the protection of European Space Infrastructure through the EU SST program. Key elements of the program were presented such as its three operational services of Collision Avoidance (CA), Re-Entry Analysis (RA) and Fragmentation analysis (FA). Mr Alves highlighted Romania’s role as part of the EU SST Consortium and discussed the state of Space as being both congested, and contested. Mr Paulo Nunes, Project Manager, exemplified the function of EU SST through recent and relevant examples relating to the provisional services, highlighting the growing need for Security in and of Space.
Mr Gheroghe showed particular interest in discussing Space infrastructures as key solutions to many challenges, including prevention and fighting of crime, as well as monitoring of environmental activities, and was keen to better understand SatCen’s role in providing Security from Space, as well as Security in Space.
In his own words, “Congratulations for the important job that you are doing in protecting both earth and space! Thank you to everyone who is doing such a great job here, but I also think it’s a very important issue to expand the things they are doing now, to give them the resources to do more, especially on this global environmental crisis, in which they can be an important player in solving problems. ”