Edinburgh, 14 April 2022. – ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher inaugurated ESA’s new Space Safety Centre at the Agency’s ESOC mission control centre, in Darmstadt, Germany. The Centre is a hub for activities protecting our planet from space weather events, asteroids and defunct satellites.
The new Space Safety Centre is a dedicated facility for monitoring and responding to space weather. Electromagnetic radiation and charged particles originating from our Sun can disrupt or substantially damage active satellites, humans in space and even Earth infrastructure.
The Centre also supports the provision of space weather information and warnings to ESA-operated space missions, the agency said. It will provide timely and reliable space weather information to European spacecraft operators, agencies, institutions, researchers and the commercial sector.
Teams will monitor data from ESA’s space weather sensors, including payloads onboard the Proba-2 satellite and from upcoming missions in the future, like Aurora. The Centre will also be used to monitor the utilisation of data acquired by the agency’s three space safety missions. These are Vigil, monitoring the Sun, and Hera, examining the aftermath of the first kinetic impact test of asteroid deflection. The third mission will be ClearSpace-1, a mission to remove a piece of space debris from orbit.