Visit of Senators from the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Armed Forces of the French senate
On 19 November 2021, SatCen had the pleasure of welcoming Mr Cédric Perrin and Mr Joël Guerriau, French Senators and Vice Presidents of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Armed Forces. The delegation was received by Deputy Director Louis Tillier along with a team of expert staff.
The committee was first briefed by Deputy Director Louis Tillier on the Centre's activities, highlighting the cooperative space culture of the European Union and SatCen’s varied cooperation with European Agencies and Member States. Particular focus was given to the synergies and complementarities that SatCen provides throughout its value chain from image provision, where over 75% of imagery is acquired from European providers (compared to less than 10%, ten years ago) to the activities and projects of the Centre.
Mr Álvaro Rodríguez, Head of Operations, further briefed the delegation on the unique structure of the division, in alignment with the different user needs and requirements. In this regard, Mr Rodríguez discussed the Centre's ability to provide services across the whole spectrum, from political planning to operational decision making on the ground.
Moreover, selected Imagery Analysts provided specific examples of the Centre’s activities such as support to EU Missions and Operations like EUNAVFOR MED IRINI, where SatCen provides reports on the monitoring of aerial, maritime and land activities.
During the event, Mr Denis Bruckert, Head of the Copernicus Unit, highlighted SatCen’s cooperation with the Commission and described SatCen’s role as responsible for the Copernicus SEA (Support to EU External Action) service. Additionally, Mr Bruckert discussed both current and potential services, reflecting the need to not only address current challenges but also prepare and adapt to emerging security threats.
In line with this, Mr João Alves, Head of SSA/SST Unit presented SatCen’s cooperation with the EU Space Programme, discussing the need of ensuring security in space. Mr Alves underlined the dependence on space assets for daily tasks and lives, and the increasing existence of both intentional and non-intentional threats putting at risk existing space infrastructure, thus creating an imminent need to protect space assets. Mr Alves provided recent examples of activities in space, such as the fragmentation incident of space object COSMOS-1408 relating to a recent anti-satellite event.
The dignitaries were also introduced to SatCen’s culture of technology and innovation. Mr Alexis Letulier, Head of IT, discussed the key elements pushing the performance of the Centre. In this regard, Mr Letulier provided concrete examples of the tools developed internally for the use of analysts in their daily activities, and the consequences these tools have on maximizing both efficiencies, as well as facilitating analysis over larger areas of interest. SatCen's dual role of application development and training of staff was also presented, showcasing the Centre’s ability to remain at the forefront of new technologies and methodologies in the field.
The delegation showed genuine interest in the activities and evolution of SatCen and was keen to better understand the Centre’s capabilities and operations.