The Ad-Hoc Working Group on Space started its operation in January 2021 with the goal to:
- appropriately accommodate the responsibility of the coordinating role of R&T for space defence in Europe and strengthen the R&T for space defence keeping up the international place;
- interface between MoDs and industry for achieving European autonomy;
- scaling of existing R&T activities for space defence in a distinct AHWG with finite duration that may evolve into a CapTech.
The AHWG Space is composed of more than 300 experts coming from participating Member States, industry, SMEs, RTOs, and academia, whose task is to develop and keep up to date a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) for space R&T in defence within the EDA R&T framework.
The core objectives for the AHWG Space are:
- to deliver the SRA for the space defence domain;
- to foster collaborative innovation among the EDA participating Members States, and;
- to start the generation of innovative collaborative R&T projects.
The activities of AHWG Space for the delivery of the Space SRA are currently ongoing; it is expected that the majority of the activities will foster Technology Readiness Level (TRL) in the range of 1 to 6, although work in higher TRLs is not ruled out.
For R&T efforts to be fruitful and contribute to defence needs and priorities, the AHWG Space activities are linked to EDA Capability Development Plan (CDP) addressing security and defence challenges in the short-, mid-, and longer-term. In this way, for the CDP 2018 priorities, it mainly contributes to:
- Space-based information and communications services (Earth observation, Positioning, Navigation and Timing, Space Situational Awareness, Satellite communication);
- Information superiority (radio spectrum management, tactical communications and information systems, information management, and ISR capabilities);
- Air Superiority (e.g. Ballistic Missile Defence);
- Cyber defence (including in space).
AHWG Space has an ongoing collaboration with other EDA CapTechs to synchronise on common topics of interest for developing defence capabilities, definition of requirements, and coordination of relevant activities. Interactions with other relevant organizations are foreseen to promote information exchange and investigate synergies and opportunities for joint activities. Examples of these organizations are the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen), the European Commission and NATO, among others.
AHWG Space community meets at least three times a year. EDA participating Member States can offer to host meetings, upon national representative’s agreement. Dedicated industry workshops are also organized fostering the participation of both governmental representatives and private entities. Workshop’s objectives are to achieve concrete outcomes, such as SRA development and technology assessment. During such meetings, MoDs representatives, designated as National Contact Points (NCP) meet and discuss technology areas with potential to develop multinational research projects, in consultation of the CapTech Governmental and non-Governmental members.
Requests for membership to the AHWG can be submitted to the AHWG Moderator; such requests will be forwarded to your national authorities, in the person of the respective National Contact Point (NCP) for approval. The approval of the NCP will be needed to become a Governmental Expert (CGE) or non-Governmental Expert (CnGE), and for your participation in an AHWG event. To become a member of the AHWG (CGE or CnGE), please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Currently, the AHWG Space is drafting its SRA. The Space SRA will drive the AHWG Space activities, encompassing pMS and industrial view on technical and operational challenges to be solved. The SRA will encompass several Technology Building Blocks (TBBs) and their implementation roadmaps, that will be approved by participating Member States.
To cover all the relevant technology aspects for space defence, the AHWG clusters R&T priorities areas under groups of technologies within the TBBs. Examples of such groups of technologies include:
- Architecture & Policy
- Earth Observation & Reconnaissance
- Space Situational Awareness (SSA) & Space Operations
- Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT)
- Satellite Communications
- Quantum and other Disruptive Technologies
- Data & Signal Processing for Decision-Making
- Launch, Space & Ground Segment Technologies
An Operational Budget (OB) Study for the Space SRA will be concluded in 2022 to support the delivery of the Space SRA, the TBBs and respective roadmaps.
While developing its SRA and TBB roadmaps, the AHWG Space has started the preparation of Cat B projects.
Ongoing and finalized activities
AHWG Space has been involved in the execution of the MIRACLE II (Micro-Satellite Clusters II) which was initiated under the CapTech Simulation-Space. The objectives of the project included the following: a) the development of an architecture for a cluster of small, relatively inexpensive SAR satellites with new SAR technologies; b) the management of virtual SAR constellations (utilising existing and future SAR missions) with maritime modes (including optimal ship detection and imaging); c) the demonstration of technical solutions and key technologies for these concepts. The project resulted in the development of system concepts for SAR-equipped satellites to maximise operational performance characteristics like spatial and temporal coverage and resolution, low vulnerability, and timeliness. The expected military benefit was to mature knowledge on SAR concepts, technologies, and related innovations together with virtual constellations of satellites to provide the required imagery better than current available systems.
- 3rd Industry Workshop of the AHWG Space, March 2022
- 4th Industry Workshop of the AHWG Space, July 2022