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Improving the performance of Space surveillance and tracking (SST) at European level

 

Currently the space surveillance and tracking capabilities in Europe are fragmented and largely dependent on space surveillance systems controlled by third States. In order to ensure the protection of European infrastructure in space, as well as to move towards a greater autonomy of Europe in its access to and use of space, there is need for coordinated efforts at Union level in the field of SST, in particular in the areas of service provision, networking of assets and sensors.

The Decision No 541/2014/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 establishes a Framework for Space Surveillance and Tracking Support (SST)[[OJ L 158 of 27 May 2014, p. 227–234]].

The Consortium resulting from the implementation of the support framework for the emergence of an SST capacity at European level has established its own dedicated implementation structure in order to manage related Union support. Therefore support to SST under Horizon 2020 and other Union funding programmes should be entrusted to the above Consortium[[In line with recital 24 of the Decision No 541/2014/EU, article 129 of the Financial Regulation (Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council) and article 193 of its Rules of Application (Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1268/2012) this action may be financed jointly from separate source programmes, namely Horizon 2020 Framework Programme (Regulation (EU) No 1291/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council), the Copernicus programme (Regulation (EU) No 377/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council) and the European Satellite Navigation programmes (Regulation (EU) No 1285/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council).]].

This activity consists in analysing, assessing and undertaking the necessary research, development and innovation activities with the specific aims of (1) supporting the pooling of national resources on the SST objectives outlined in the aforementioned Decision and coinciding with the Horizon 2020 objectives and challenges related to protecting Europe’s investment made in space infrastructure; (2) supporting the upgrade and development of assets, in particular radars, lasers and telescopes as well as data processing, operating centres, network and infrastructure, and front desk, operated by Member States participating in the SST Support Framework in line with the needs of services provisions through 1SST grant[[Grant Agreement for 1SST 2018-20]], answer to Annex VII[[Report answering request in Annex VII of the 1SST2016-17 GA, Version 2.0 28/09/18]], the Union SST development plan[[Development plan D9.1 2-3SST2016-17, Version 1.0 05/02/2019 and the necessary adaption following the Mid-term review of 19-20/02/2019]] and the architecture trade-off[[Architecture trade-off, D7.4 2-3SST2016-17, Version 1.0 05/02/2019 and the necessary adaption following the Mid-term review of 19-20/02/2019]]; and (3) achieving significant economies of scale by joining related resources from Horizon 2020 (LEIT/space and secure societies), European Satellite Navigation Programmes and Copernicus, in addition to the cumulative national investment of the Member States participating in the SST support framework, which largely exceeds the Union contribution through the above Union funding programmes. As a result, the Union contribution covers only a limited part of the national costs related to SST activities and assets.

The aim is to improve the overall performance of the SST services and ensure, in the long-term, a high level of performance and appropriate autonomy at Union level. The activity should lead to connected SST assets with high added value with regard to coverage and cataloguing of space objects, allowing for improved quality and performance of SST in the future. Once these sensors have been networked and introduced in the operational Union SST chains, they will lead to a better orbital coverage and the collection of improved data, in terms of both quality and quantity. The integration of upgraded and developed sensors should be implemented in accordance with the needs for complementarity and optimisation of the SST architecture while taking into account the cost limitation. This activity will also lead to closer interaction and complementarity among the various National Operations Centres and optimisation of the SST architecture thus achieving economies of scale while avoiding duplication.

This activity may involve the use of classified background information or the production of security sensitive foreground information. As such, certain deliverables may require security classification. The final decision on the classification of deliverables is subject to the security evaluation[[Procedure on the Security Evaluation of SST Grants; Ref. Ares(2016)2653609 - 08/06/2016, to be updated to include the new Member States.]].

The activity will contribute to achieving the objectives set out in Annex 1 to the Commission Implementing Decision[[COM(2016)8482 of 19.12.2016]] on a coordination plan for the SST support framework and the procedure for participation of Member States[[http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/space/security_en]],[[In conjunction with the respective cumulative budget from Copernicus, EGNSS, and from Horizon 2020 LEIT Space and Societal Challenge 7 on secure societies]]. Impact achieved from the action execution will be assessed on the basis of the indicators and reporting obligations foreseen in the above Commission Implementing Decision.

The option of full purchase costs of equipment, infrastructure or other assets could be included in the GA if/when duly justified, in conformity of “Article 6.2 D.2"" of the Horizon 2020 Model Grant Agreement.

This activity contributes to the Horizon 2020 focus area ""Boosting the effectiveness of the Security Union "".

The identified beneficiary for this grant[[In conjunction with the respective cumulative budget from Copernicus, EGNSS, and from Horizon 2020 LEIT Space and Societal Challenge 7 on secure societies]] is the consortium resulting from the implementation of the SST support framework within the meaning of Article 7(3) of Decision No 541/2014/EU comprising entities designated by participating Member States[[http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/space/security_en]],[[Article 190(1)(d) RAP allows award of a grant without the call for proposals to ""[…] bodies designated by the Members States, under their responsibility, where those Member States are identified by a basic act as beneficiaries of a grant"".]] and the EU SATCEN[[Article 8 of Decision No 541/2014/EU: ""The European Union Satellite Centre (SATCEN) may cooperate with the consortium […] "".]],[[Article 190(1)(f) RAP provides for an additional exception to calls for proposals ""for actions with specific characteristics that require a particular type of body on account of its technical competence, its high degree of specialisation or its administrative power, on condition that the actions concerned do not fall within the scope of a call for proposals.""]].

Specific grant awarded under the Framework Partnership Agreement on Space Surveillance and Tracking for Research and Innovation Action. The standard evaluation criteria, thresholds, weighting for award criteria and the maximum rate of co-financing for this type of action are provided in parts D and H of the General Annexes.

Proposals submitted under this action may be subject to security scrutiny.

Legal Entities: The consortium resulting from the implementation of the SST support framework within the meaning of Article 7(3) of Decision No 541/2014/EU comprising entities designated by participating Member States[[http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/space/security_en]],[[Article 190(1)(d) RAP allows award of a grant without the call for proposals to ""[…] bodies designated by the Members States, under their responsibility, where those Member States are identified by a basic act as beneficiaries of a grant"".]] and the EU SATCEN[[Article 8 of Decision No 541/2014/EU: ""The European Union Satellite Centre (SATCEN) may cooperate with the consortium […] "".]],[[Article 190(1)(f) RAP provides for an additional exception to calls for proposals ""for actions with specific characteristics that require a particular type of body on account of its technical competence, its high degree of specialisation or its administrative power, on condition that the actions concerned do not fall within the scope of a call for proposals.""]].