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Romania’s contribution to Space Surveillance and Tracking

on 05 July 2021

Threats from space are multiple and complex, including extreme phenomena associated with space weather, out of use satellites that may collide or re-enter the atmosphere uncontrollably, and threats from asteroids and meteorites. All of these can affect critical space or ground infrastructure.

In order to prevent such destructive events and also for the good functioning of the vital infrastructures of the society, specific programs and actions are carried out at European level. Romania is an active part of this European effort through the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA), within which operates, since 2018, the SST Operational Centre in Romania (COSST), which was quickly distinguished by advanced capabilities in astronomical observations and data processing.

The MarketWatch Magazine published an article about Romania’s contribution to Space Surveillance and Tracking, signed by Violeta Poenaru, Ulpia Botezatu and Mădălina Trelia from ROSA. We invite you to read it at this link.

Since 2013, Romania has worked with the SST Committee, organised at EC level. Also, in December 2018, Romania joined the EUSST Consortium, together with Poland and Portugal, thus joining the other five founding European states of this consortium. Currently, Romania contributes with observational data to the provision of services such as re-entry into the atmosphere, fragmentation and avoidance of collision with other objects in space.

Romania's participation in the European Consortium is based on the national effort that allowed the establishment of the SST Operational Centre (COSST), in 2018, within the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA). The SST Operational Centre coordinates the SST activities in Romania and communicates with the counterpart operational centers in the Member States in the EUSST Consortium. Also, a major contribution was made by the national effort invested in improving the performance of existing optical sensors, as well as the reconfiguration of the radar from Cheia.

Romania has tradition and experience in the fields of Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST), Space Weather (SWE), and Near Earth Objects (NEO) following the participation of public and private organizations with potential in the optional SSA program within the European Space Agency (ESA), as well as nationally, in various initiatives funded by PNCDI. Thus, public entities, research entities and companies developed capabilities and expertise in areas such as consulting and coordination of national research programs for space applications, as well as in promoting specific development and research in the space field. The research capabilities of organizations in Romania include, among others: performing position measurements on the celestial sphere of Near Earth Objects (astrometry), securing the orbits of these newly discovered objects (observations and data recorded as soon as an alert is issued to identify a new asteroid that intersects Earth’s orbit), mineralogical analysis of asteroid surfaces by ground-based spectroscopic observations in the near-visible and near-infrared range, estimation of dynamic parameters of NEO orbits from astrometric data, development of prototypes in the field of optical sensors and passive radio ground (active satellites, space debris, meteorites), conducting experiments to detect and track space objects of interest, software development and systems for analysis and processing of specific data.

More details here.

Image credit: AROAC / ROSA