H. E. João António da Costa Mira Gomes, Ambassador of Portugal in Spain, visits SatCen

On 19 June 2020, H. E. João António da Costa Mira Gomes, Ambassador of Portugal in Spain, together with Liaison Officer Chief Superintendent José Ferreira de Oliveira, visited SatCen and were briefed on the Centre's activities.

They were welcomed by SatCen Director Amb. Sorin Ducaru, Head of Operations Adriano Baptista, Head of IT Alexis Letulier and Head of the Space Surveillance and Tracking Unit, João Alves.

Amb. Ducaru gave an introduction to SatCen activities and governance, also covering the Centre’s strategic development perspective. Examples of product requests from Member States were related to migration, evacuation of citizens from a crisis area and situational awareness for the participation of a Member State in an EU operation. He also described how SatCen had continued to provide a full scope of geospatial intelligence analysis services under the challenging COVID-19 conditions.

Head of IT Alexis Letulier explained the importance of integration, customization and development of tools for the analysis of satellite imagery. Artificial intelligence eases the work of SatCen analysts by scanning huge areas to detect objects of interests, so that the analysts can focus on the analysis itself and not waste unnecessary time on detection.

Thereafter, H. E. João António da Costa Mira Gomes was led to the Operations Division where imagery analysts showed examples of SatCen products, including products delivered as part of the Copernicus Service in Support to EU External Action related to humanitarian aid and crisis management activities as well as support to EU missions and operations and international organisations.

Later, Mr João Alves explained the role of SatCen within the Space Surveillance and Tracking activities, which are the risk assessment of collision between spacecraft or between spacecraft and space debris; the detection and characterisation of in-orbit fragmentations; and the risk assessment of the uncontrolled re-entry of space objects and space debris into the Earth's atmosphere.

The visit concluded with a short meeting with the Centre’s Portuguese staff members and concluding discussions with the SatCen management.

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