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Space Surveillance and Tracking Protocol to be Signed

Today, Wednesday the 17th of July at 12:30, the President of the Regional Government, Miguel Albuquerque, will chair the protocol presentation between the Autonomous Region of Madeira and the Republic on the Space Surveillance and Tracking agreement (SST).

According to a statement issued by the Presidents office, ‘the main objective of the SST Project is to monitor of space junk and as such, Pico do Areeiro has been recognised as a potential site for space observation by both by the European TSS Consortium and by the National Working SST Group (GPSST). The new telescopes will be used for monitoring ‘space garbage’  in three specific areas.  These are: –

Collision Avoidance’ – aims to prevent collision of space debris with objects on the ground, including aircraft.

Fragmentation Analysis’ – tracking fragments resulting from known spatial objects and their dissipation in space.

Re-Entry Warnings’ – monitoring satellites and associated litter returning to Earth, on a scheduled or unscheduled basis.

The initial phase will include the installation of two telescopes within a ten square metre radius of each other in Pico do Areeiro.  These will be located at the end of the existing pedestrian path from Radar Station.  The position of the two telescopes has been carefully assessed to ensure that local environments and ecosystem are protected, especially that of the Madeira Nightingale during all phases of work and operation.

Miguel Albuquerque further stated that ‘the participation of the Autonomous Region of Madeira in the SST program will allow the development of regional competences in the scientific and technological sector.  Furthermore, it will enhance existing human and technical resources at the University of Madeira with regards to training, thus enabling  the creation of specialised jobs, as well as create the potential for scientific tourism.’

Samantha Gannon

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Madeira Weekly