On Thursday, 13th February 2014, MEPs from the Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) of the European Parliament, voted with a large majority in favour of the report on the result of negotiations between the Council and the Commission on setting up a Space surveillance and tracking support programme.
Mazej Kukovič (EPP/SDS), rapporteur for the EPP group, welcomed this decision and pointed out that: ?Without every realising it, we rely on space technology every single day, such as when watching television, using the internet, mobile phones or the GPS. It has become a part of our everyday lives. Amongst other things, they have become crucial in allowing the implementation of EU polices, as well as accelerating technological advances, innovation and competitiveness. Consequently, setting up a system of space surveillance and tracking is urgently required both as concerns the successful functioning of the European economy and the safety of all EU citizens.?
The Space surveillance and tracking support programme ensures long-term progress, which will lead to the setting up of an independent system of tracking space debris, which is an increasing danger to satellites and other space infrastructure. In order to mitigate the risk of collision it is necessary to identify and monitor satellites and space debris. This allows public authorities to warn those involved of a possible collision. However, Europe currently lacks the capability to track debris in space on its own, making us dependent on the United States of America. The information it thus receives is one-sided and non-verified. Consequently and in order to protect its own space infrastructure, as well as ensure safe launches of rockets, Europe must set up an autonomous system of space surveillance.
Mazej Kukovič concluded by saying: ?If we lose a satellite, we also lose critical satellite communication capabilities, which are essential in saving lives in cases of emergency or when fast response is required. It is important for the EU to ensure space surveillance and tracking.?
For more information, please contact:
Maja Mikanec, assistant to Zofija Mazej Kukovič: +386 41884641, firstname.lastname@example.org