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NATO to Strengthen Partnership With Space Industry, Launches APSS

Credit: NATO

Ibadan, 21 February 2024. – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has announced strengthening its partnership with the commercial space industry. NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană made the announcement during NATO’s first Space Reverse Industry Day yesterday, 20 February 2024, as he highlighted the importance of cooperation with the commercial space industry to ensure Alliance security.

The Space Reverse Industry Day gave space companies the opportunity to share their unique perspectives and help shape NATO’s commercial space agenda. Discussions included addressing commercial challenges with public sector organizations; exploring initiatives for new multinational space investments; considering space innovation activities through DIANA; and streamlining and enhancing space standardization and interoperability.

Last week, 16 Allies, together with invitees Finland and Sweden, launched a new initiative, the “Alliance Persistent Surveillance from Space” (APSS), aiming to transform the way NATO gathers and uses data from space, significantly improve NATO’s intelligence and surveillance, and provide essential support to NATO’s military missions and operations. The initiative will consist of the establishment of a virtual constellation – ‘Aquila’ – of both national and commercial space assets, such as satellites, leveraging the latest advances in commercial space technology. As such, it will help streamline data collection, sharing and analysis among NATO Allies and with the NATO command structure while generating cost savings.

Luxembourg’s early contribution of 16.5 million euros laid the groundwork for this transformative initiative and will allow participating countries to contribute to Aquila through their own assets, data and/or funds. Integrating and exploiting data from space effectively has been a growing challenge over time. As a result, leveraging the latest technologies from the industry will enable APSS to advance NATO’s innovation agenda and offer a new platform to engage with the growing space industry.

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