1992-2022: CELEBRATING 30 YEARS
30 years serving a European security endeavour
We all have a story to share. Ours started 30 years ago, in 1992, when the WEU Ministerial Council and the Spanish government provided the location to have the Centre on the Torrejón Airbase in Spain. This was one year after the WEU Council, consisting of Foreign and Defense Ministers, made the decision to set up a satellite data interpretation Centre. Now, 30 years later, SatCen is recognized as a unique European security provider in support of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) as well as other relevant EU space and security policies and activities, maximizing synergies with EU national and international partners.
In a context characterized by an increasing offer of data and fast technology development, SatCen shall continue meeting a growing and diverse demand by delivering state-of-the-art services that keep the European Union and its citizens safe.
MESSAGE FROM OUR DIRECTOR
Ambassador Sorin Dumitru Ducaru is the Director of the European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen) since June 2019. He has previously held the position of NATO Assistant Secretary General and Head of the NATO Emerging Security Challenges Division, as well as the positions of Romania’s ambassador to NATO, USA and to the UN in New York. He also assumed various positions in the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) such as: spokesperson of the MFA, director of the Minister’s Office and Head of the Directorate for NATO and Strategic Issues.
1991-1993: THE BIRTH OF AN AGENCY
1991 // POLITICAL CREATION
On 27 June 1991, the WEU Ministerial Council, consisting of Foreign and Defence Ministers, met in Vianden in Luxembourg and made the decision to set up a satellite data interpretation Centre.
On 19 November, the Council of Ministers of the WEU met in Bonn and decided to establish the Centre in Spain, on the Torrejón airbase near Madrid.
1993 // INAUGURATION OF THE WEU SATELLITE CENTRE
Inauguration of the WEU Satellite Centre by the Spanish Minister of Defence, Julian Garcia Vargas and the Secretary General of the WEU, Willem Van Eekelen. The Ministers of Defence of the WEU countries were also present.
1992 // CONSTRUCTION BEGINS
In 1992, the WEU Council of Ministers meeting at Petersburg near Bonn, envisaged the use of military units acting under the authority of WEU, for humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping and crisis management tasks, including peacekeeping operations.
The agreement between Spanish Government and the WEU was signed for the concession of the building and the terrain.
Director WEUSC, 1991-1995
Director EUSC, 2005-2010
Director WEUSC, 1996-1998
Director EUSC/SatCen, 2011-2014
Director WEUSC/EUSC, 1999-2004
Director SatCen, 2015-2019
30 YEARS IN NUMBERS
The world has changed, technology has advanced but our mission remains the same: to provide comprehensive situational awareness and to match the EU's increased level of ambition in external action and the fields of security, defence and space.
These key figures reflect SatCen's growing level of activity, in line with the increased ambitions of the European Union and Member States:
First visit to SatCen (Former Western European Union) by H.E. Amb. L. J. Casanova Fernández, Spain, 30 February 1993
First products came out in 1992 before the Centre's official inauguration in 1993. Just in the last decade SatCen's product output exceeded 22K, indicating a sharp increase in SatCen activities and support.
Highly qualified and dedicated personnel are SatCen's greatest asset. To keep them up to speed with new technologies, methodologies and industries, SatCen's training unit provides year-long trainings and knowledge-exchange.
In-house training empowers analysts with all the relevant skills and knowledge for their professional duties, also providing spare capacities to analysts of Member States and institutions
Working in a multicultural environment. SatCen staff represents 18 nationalities across 5 different age groups, reflecting the high level of diversity among both permanent and temporary staff
Congratulations on SatCen's 30th Anniversary. Thank you for your invaluable work in helping the EU defend and promote its interests. Your support to the EU's intelligence communities is making Europe safer and more secure
President of the European Council
Today's visit at SatCen was an interesting experience. Your achievements are impressive – your valuable, reliable analysis of satellite data is helping the European Union and its Member States to better face the current security challenges, especially in these difficult times
Klaus Werner Iohannis
President of Romania
Space is becoming increasingly important for our security and defence. SatCen in Madrid, plays a fundamental role by providing geospatial intelligence analysis and allowing us to monitor what is happening at the Ukrainian border and supporting our CSDP missions across the globe
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR/VP)
SATCEN DIGITAL EXHIBIT
30 years in 30 pictures.
SatCen's core mission and history is closely intertwined with the European Union's own journey. Organized around the Centre's history, its key milestones and evolution over the last three decades, the exhibit will reveal SatCen's unique role in space, security and defence from its founding in 1992 to present day.
Explore 30 SatCen products -historic and new-, and find out more about the inner workings of the Centre - from the use of new technologies for operational support, to our staff's expertise and the Centre's portfolio of capacities.
COMING SOON: NOVEMBER 2022
An exclusive look inside SatCen - our methodologies, technology, success stories and human assets
MONITORING THE IMPACT OF AN ANTI-SATELLITE TEST
EU SST confirmed with data from its contributing sensors the fragmentation of space object COSMOS 1408. This event is related to the anti-satellite (ASAT) test which took place on 15 November 2021. SatCen coordinated the EU SST Taskforce in charge of monitoring and communicating on this event
CREATING A DIGITAL TWIN EARTH FOR SECURITY
THE CLIMATE-SECURITY NEXUS
SatCen works in the implementation of a Digital Twin Earth for Security, using EO resources and state-of-the-art technologies, to progress towards a new holistic GEOINT paradigm
SatCen assessed the impact of environmental phenomena on the construction of refugee camps in vulnerable regions using its GEO-DAMP platform
TACKLING PIRACY: LOCATING A HIJACKED OIL TANKER
On 13 March 2017 a group of Somali pirates hijacked an oil tanker off the coast of Somalia with eight sailors on board. Less than 4 days later the crew was safely back on land, thanks to the EU's military operation EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta and the key support of SatCen
AISMATCH: SHIP DETECTION TECHNOLOGY
Innovation has always been at the center of SatCen's activities. In coordination with its various divisions, SatCen has developed AISmatch: an automated system to detect ships on satellite image and correlate them with AIS data of the observed region
SATCEN'S CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE STRATEGIC COMPASS
On 21 March 2022, the Council of the EU approved a new strategic milestone document for the EU Security and Defence policy. This document represents a major leap forward, since its implementation will make the EU a stronger and more capable security provider, not least via the establishment of a strong EU Rapid Deployment Capacity of up to 5000 troops for different types of crises, future regular and joint live exercises on land and at sea or more intelligence analysis capacities, including for the broadening range of hybrid threats.
From a space perspective, the Strategic Compass shows the way towards a new EU Space Strategy for Security and Defence. Further commitments, which will touch our work and provide for opportunities, include greater national and joint expenditures in capabilities and strategic enablers to operate on land, at sea, in the air, in the cyber domain and in outer space.
SatCen is identified and quoted in the Strategic compass as a key player to enhance autonomous geospatial intelligence capacity.
OUR USERS AND PARTNERS
SatCen provides geospatial intelligence analysis in support of various and diverse actors, challenging the Centre's ability to continuously adapt to different user needs.
SatCen's main users are the EEAS and EU Intelligence Community, EU Member States, EU Agencies, EU Missions and Operations and the European Commission. Moreover, the Centre cooperates with national and international institutions in the field of space. It works closely with the European Defence Agency, the European Commission and the European Space Agency, as well as other institutions and international organizations.