On 4 July 2022, SatCen had the pleasure of hosting H.E. HR/VP Josep Borrell at the Centre as well as the Heads of International Agencies in Spain.
Representatives included the European Investment Bank, EFCA (The European Fisheries Control Agency), Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean, FRONTEX (European Border and Coast Guard Agency), EUSPA (European Agency for Space Programme), JRC (Joint Research Centre), Office of the European Parliament in Spain and the Representation of the European Commission in Spain.
The occasion was an opportunity to discuss the Centre’s activities and evaluate potential future collaborations and partnerships. At the same time, the visit allowed for an exchange of information on the different activities of international and EU agencies in Spain.
SatCen Director, Ambassador Sorin Ducaru, introduced the session with a short overview of the Centre’s mission and capabilities, discussing SatCen’s support along the full spectrum of European interests, from political planning and operational decision-making to supporting external action in missions and operations. SatCen’s support for EU strategic autonomy has been reinforced by the current security context and by the limited mobility on the ground propelled by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Among other issues, examples of recent activities in areas of interest were presented.
Mr Álvaro Rodríguez, Head of Operations, stressed StaCen’s value-added as the EU Intelligence Collection tool and presented the evolution of satellite capabilities and resolutions over time. It is both the speed of delivery and the resolution of image data that has put European imagery providers at the forefront of SatCen analysis. Today, European commercial satellite imagery providers represent around 80% of the total data expenditure in the last two years, compared to about 8% a decade ago.
The Chief Technology Officer, Mr Lucio Colaiacomo, briefed the participants on the various IT tools developed by SatCen in support of its work. These applications, which are all also distributed to the EU and its Member States, facilitate the geospatial analysis process, help to manage the processing of increasing amounts of data in shorter time cycles, and to adapt to the constant evolution of requirements.
Mr Colaiacomo provided operational examples of extensive data analysis, and use of artificial intelligence, and showcased some specific applications employed by the Centre.
The Head of Capability Development, Mr Andrea Patrono, presented the SatCen cooperation with the European Commission and specifically its role in the EU Space Programme. The biggest collaboration was within Copernicus, the EU´s civilian earth observation programme, where the Centre is responsible for the Support to External Action service. Further, he explained the SatCen front-desk function for the EU Space Surveillance and Tracking programme with its services, and the future perspectives for the Centre’s involvement in the new space programme.
Statements by High Representative Josep Borrell at the press conference
“It is a pleasure to be back in Torrejón, in this Satellite Center that the European Union has, which is not well known, it deserves to be much better known, because satellites are everywhere and at all times in our lives. From mobile phones to the navigation of our cars or the withdrawal of currency from an ATM, there is a satellite behind it. A satellite that provides information in real time, which helps us fight forest fires, better understand the situation on combat fronts, and in particular now in Ukraine.
Torrejón has been home to this Satellite Center for 30 years now. Throughout its 30 years, this center – of which I am honored to chair its Board – has provided more and more geostrategic intelligence to the European Union and its Member States, contributing to the development of our missions and operations”.