SSA - Behöver Sverige en rymdlägesbild?


  • Christer Andersson
  • Lisa Rosenqvist
  • Eva Bernhardsdotter
  • Maths Persson

Publish date: 2011-02-18

Report number: FOI-R--3087--SE

Pages: 101

Written in: Swedish


  • space situational awareness
  • SSA
  • space technology
  • satellite
  • space debris
  • asteroids
  • orbit
  • solar flares
  • intelligence


Space Situational Awareness (SSA) is essentially a military instrument to prevent attacks from and through space. In recent years, and in the light of an increasingly exploited space, the SSA-concept has been extended and is today also used for civilian purposes. For example to prevent satellites colliding with space debris; to warn for outbreaks of solar storms to prevent destructions of power grids; or to track large asteroids that could collide with Earth. The purpose of the report is to provide the Swedish authorities with a comprehensive decision support that illustrates this broad and new image of the SSA. The report describes both the global security issues as well as technical fundamentals of the SSA. The report explains how the SSA concept has changed to become a global concern about how the world´s space-faring nations in cooperation should protect the common and limited resource of satellite orbits. This intention is also clearly manifest in the new U.S. Space Policy in which transparency and confidence-building measures are emphasized in order to solve this problem. Understanding the essential importance of space infrastructure for the wider community the EU, supported by a large number of member countries, launched a study work within the European Space Agency which is likely to be the next major European venture in space - an independent Space Situational Awareness. Sweden has in principle only shown interest in these issues through the discussion on space issues that occur in the UN context. No Swedish official initiatives have yet been taken to pursue SSA within the European Space Agency or the European Defence Agency. The report therefore gives some concrete suggestions on how Sweden can take advantage of the opportunities that SSA offers, and indicate the importance of joining international efforts to protect this unique natural resource. Two main points of these suggestions are increased investment in information about the risks and opportunities of the space environment, and increased interaction between the authorities to give priority to activities at a possible Swedish involvement in the SSA. Finally the authors recommend that the authorities should start activities to investigate how Sweden could obtain access to relevant SSA information in the future, as well as and initiate activities to build up a basic national SSA capability.