Weapons of mass destruction
The SatCen non-proliferation mission follows the entire process of weapon development, quite literally from the ground up, beginning with the detection of uranium mining activity, through the analysis of a nation’s nuclear fuel fabrication infrastructure, to the assessment of its ability to extract material of a sufficient quality and quantity to produce a weapon. In accordance with the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), significant events and locations are identified and monitored, using high-resolution satellite imagery, and evaluated in terms of how they relate to official statements and international treaty adherence.
Arms control and non-proliferation
As well as monitoring the early stages of the nuclear fuel cycle, up to the point at which the process may be entirely benign, the SatCen reports on purely weapon-related issues. Initial analysis is conducted when new information comes to light which strongly implicates a specific location or area in the development, production, testing or storage of non-conventional weapons. When a location is of interest because of its known history in connection to such weapons, it may be monitored over several months or years, either to verify that the conditions set out in international treaties are satisfied or to confirm reports of clandestine operations.
Recent events have renewed the international community’s concerns about the production and use of chemical weapons by state and individual actors. SatCen reporting on this subject includes geospatial analysis of related infrastructure, physical security, transportation and pattern-of-life on a given location of interest. This analysis supports the work of any weapon inspectors in finding and evaluating chemical weapon storage sites, as well as the removal of said weapons for subsequent destruction.
© DLR/Distribution Airbus Defence & Space
© CNES/Distribution Airbus Defence & Space
© European Space Imaging/Digital Globe