GEO, LEO, Multistatic Radar, RSO characterization, Space Situational Awareness SSA, Space Surveillance and Tracking SST
Space Situational Awareness (SSA) is fundamental to understanding all activities in space that may help or endanger NATO missions. Effort has been made within the CSO in the direction of coordinating actions from NATO members to create a common Space Situational Awareness (SSA) picture.
Specifically, SCI-279 and SCI-311 have been working in that direction and have produced some initial results. One recommendation from SCI-279 Task Group is to begin the process of experimenting with the data fusion and data analytic tools using real world SSA data on the space environment, space object orbital parameters and radio frequency interference of satellite communications. SCI-311 Task Group activities started in April 2018 as a consequence of ET-39 and focus on the establishment of a common protocol to exchange SSA data between NATO nations, and the fusion of such data to reach a common goal.
SCI activities are primarily at a system level and aim at improving system concepts and bridging state of the art limitations and user needs. More work, however, needs be done to liaise NATO members to work at the sensor/algorithm level. Many technologies, especially RF ones are outdated, and algorithm development is often constrained by the hardware that is employed in Space Situation Awareness / Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) operations. New sensors and sensor networks may be envisioned that would drastically improve NATO SST and therefore SSA capabilities. Moreover, novel algorithms that exploit new sensor concepts may be developed that would in turn push SST performances.
In January 2019 an Exploratory Team, namely SET-115, was formed in this direction and specifically to assess: (1) which are the main interests of NATO Nations relative to SSA/SST related activities specifically at a sensor level, (2) gaps to be filled in terms of sensors/algorithms capabilities that are in the interest of Member Nations, (3) potential solutions and roadmaps to fill the identified gaps, (4) specific objectives to be achieved in a three-year span through a RTG. To date, SET-115 has involved seven Member Nations and eleven research institutions and has paved a roadmap for a three-year activity through an RTG, which this TAP details.