The Minister of Defense will inaugurate in May the Space Operations Center, in the Azores, within the scope of the European program “Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST)” to detect objects orbiting the Earth that may constitute a real danger.

On May 14, I will be in the Azores for the inauguration of the operations center that puts Portugal at the forefront of a European system and that has military and civilian utility ”, said Minister João Gomes Cravinho, during a visit to the Telecommunications Institute, in Aveiro, with whom the Ministry of Defense has a partnership in the area of ​​space.

The new operations center will be installed in the Science and Technology Park on the island of Terceira, in the Azores, where the first Portuguese telescope dedicated to space surveillance operations is also located, which went into operation in October 2020.

The system also includes a second telescope in the Azores and two telescopes in Madeira, as well as a telescope and a radar in Pampilhosa da Serra, in the district of Coimbra.

These equipments will operate in an automated way and the respective data should be forwarded to the operations center that will centralize all the information.

The SST project is a European program that aims to monitor, characterize and track objects in the vicinity of the Earth, which may constitute a real danger, both for infrastructures in its orbit, such as satellites, and for the safety of citizens.

The space is full of objects, what we call space junk, which call into question satellites and which represent a danger to our communication systems and, therefore, we need to maintain control over what is in space ”said the minister.

The SST program, which the Ministry of National Defense leads at the national level, also aims to train Portugal in sensitive and technologically differentiated areas, creating and establishing competencies that contribute to greater national and international security in space, and that reinforce the national presence in politics European space.

In addition to Portugal, the European consortium SST is part of France, Spain, United Kingdom, Denmark, Poland, Romania and Italy.


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