(Friday 29, August) In the context of the Initial Joint Polar System it shares with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), EUMETSAT has entered into a Space Situational Awareness data-sharing agreement with the US Strategic Command to protect its satellites against collision with space debris.
Since 1998, NOAA and EUMETSAT have cooperated to establish the Initial Joint Polar System, and both agencies now share the operational responsibilities for two polar-orbiting satellites and their respective ground segments. This strategic operational cooperation generates substantial benefits for Europe, the USA and the worldwide user communities.
US Strategic Command, the agency responsible for space operations and the overall strategic defence of America and its allies, already provides vital information on space debris to NOAA to help protect its satellite assets. The agreement with EUMETSAT extends this protection to the EUMETSAT assets and to the full Initial Joint Polar System.
“As part of our Initial Joint Polar System, EUMETSAT’s Metop and NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellites deliver global measurements that are essential for weather forecasting and, hence, the safety of European and US citizens. The agreement signed with the US Strategic Command consolidates the protection of our shared assets” said the EUMETSAT Director-General, Alain Ratier.
“As more countries, companies and organizations field space capabilities and benefit from the use of space systems, it is in our collective interest to enhance the long-term sustainability, stability, safety, and security of the space joint operating area,” said Adm. Cecil D. Haney, USSTRATCOM commander.
The agreement was signed on 9 August.
The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, currently with 30 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom) and one Cooperating State (Serbia).
EUMETSAT operates the geostationary satellites Meteosat-8, -9 and -10 over Europe and Africa, and Meteosat-7 over the Indian Ocean.
EUMETSAT also operates two Metop polar-orbiting satellites as part of the Initial Joint Polar System (IJPS) shared with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Metop-B polar-orbiting meteorological satellite, launched on 17 September 2012, became prime operational satellite on 24 April 2013. It replaced Metop-A, the first European polar-orbiting meteorological satellite, which was launched in October 2006. Metop-A will continue operations as long as its available capacities bring benefits to users.
The Jason-2 ocean altimetry satellite, launched on 20 June 2008 and exploited jointly with NOAA, NASA and CNES, added monitoring of sea state, ocean currents and sea level change to the EUMETSAT product portfolio.
The data and products from EUMETSAT’s satellites are vital to weather forecasting and make a significant contribution to the monitoring of environment and the global climate.
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