GMES Copernicus and SSA workshops

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On the 28th of February and 1st of March 2013 two workshops dedicated to GMES Copernicus and Space Situational Awareness were held in Warsaw. Kosmonauta.net representatives were present at both of these workshops.

Poland aims to be very active in both GMES Copernicus and Space Situational Awareness (SSA) programmes. However, Polish „niches” in both GMES Copernicus and SSA are yet to be defined and explored. During these two workshops, the current state of development as well as upcoming opportunities were described by the European Space Agency (ESA) representatives.

The first workshop was held on 28th of February and focused on the GMES Copernicus programme. During this event, the actual state of work on the Copernicus’ space component was described. The work on Sentinel satellites is progressing and this year first one should be deliveredinto orbit. Also the situation after the last European Union (EU) summit was described, as the GMES Copernicus is jointly realized with the EU. Finally, the process of contractor and project selection was described in detail as it differs from other ESA programmes – it is also open to non-ESA partners.

One day later, on the 1st of March 2013, a workshop dedicated to the SSA programme was held. The SSA is composed of three elements – the Space Weather (SWE), Near-Earth Objects (NEO) and Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST). Poland decided to participate in all three of these elements.

ESA realizes the need to gather knowledge and track „space debris”, which are becoming more and more numerous, also due to anti-satellite tests and satellite collisions. Right now, it is estimated that there are about 600 thousand debris smaller than 10 cm and more than 35 million debris smaller than 1 cm on various orbits. Their tracking is very difficult and requires many different detection techniques, many of which do not exist yet, however their impacts on satellites might have disastrous effects and, in consequence, economical losses for operators.

ESA also plans to work on the SWE element, which should result in a better understanding of geodynamic effects around the Earth. One of ESA’s concepts is to replace aging solar observatories working on orbit and at the L1 point. In addition, ESA postulates placing additional probes at L4 and L5 points, which would provide better view on Sun-related events, such as flares or coronal mass ejections.

During the SSA workshop some dates for upcoming invitation to tenders were presented as well as their topics. Thus, Polish entities can now focus on finding projects which would reflect their ambitions as well as look for potential partners.

The SSA workshop finished in bilateral meetings between representatives from ESA and Polish entities. These meetings were very popular – many Polish R&D institutions and companies discussed their plans with ESA representatives. This might lead to a conclusion that Polish entities might play an important role in several „niches” of SSA over next few years.

Are you interested to learn more about these events as well as Poland in GMES Copernicus and SSA programmes? Send us an email – kontakt@kosmonauta.net.

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