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SPACE DOMAIN AWARENESS

The Space environment is fundamentally changing as it becomes more contested, congested and competitive, with hundreds, soon thousands, of satellites being launched every year, mostly from the commercial sector.

As daily reliance on satellites increases, concerns about their potential degradation, disruption or even destruction, have grown.

Challenge

This Innovation Challenge is seeking innovative solutions to

Collect and Analyze

 all relevant open sources information contributing to the space domain Awareness

Assess and Prevent

any disruption or denial of space based capabilites and services

Visualize and Present

the space domain information in an innovative, different way that would facilitate quick and efficient decision-making

NATO Context

The concept of Space Domain Awareness (SDA) aims to ensure a common understanding of the Space environment, including threats and vulnerabilities that have the potential to affect the Alliance’s safety, security and interests

NATO is a defensive alliance, focusing on deterring conflict and preserving peace.

Space is essential to NATO’s deterrence and defense, including, for instance, the ability to navigate, track forces, gather intelligence and detect missile launches.

Conflicts could happen not only on land, in the air, at sea and on computer networks, but also in Space or even simultaneously across several or all domains. Some countries and non-state actors have the technology to blind, jam, disable or destroy Space capabilities putting at risk users, and in particular military structures or organization relying on Space based services. 

NATO owned and operated satellites from the 1970’s until 2010, but the Alliance now relies on space products and services provided by its members. NATO does not own any satellite and will not duplicate efforts from its nations in space.

At the end of 2019, NATO declared Space as an Operational Domain alongside Air, Sea, Land and Cyberspace. This was an important milestone of NATO’s continued adaptation.  

Declaring Space a domain helps improving the sharing of Space services among Allies, increases interoperability, and ensures that our operations can call on the support they need.

NATO does not intend to put weapons in Space. NATO’s approach to space is defensive and fully in line with the international laws. 

In other words, declaring Space an Operational Domain ensures that space considerations are on the agenda when military commanders plan NATO’s posture, missions, functions and activities

Learn more about NATO's approach