Space: SST/SSA operator course for the control of the space environment completed in Pratica di Mare

(To air Force)

Last January 19th, at the RACSA (airspace control training department) in Pratica di Mare, with the support of the aerospace engineering group of RSV/DASAS (experimental flight department/air division of aeronautical and space experimentation), the 4th SST/SSA operator course was concluded (Space Surveillance Tracking/Space Situational Awareness). The Air Force has in fact equipped itself with its own SSA capability for the control of the space environment for the defense of national space infrastructures and assets.

The SSA is divided into three sub-areas, of civil origin: Space Surveillance and Tracking, the topic of the course just concluded, Space Weather and control of Near Earth Objects.
The course represented the first training activity for VFI personnel (initial firm volunteers), called "Space Guardian", intended for use in the space domain. During the two-week course, the 15 attendees completed the required study plan: from orbital dynamics, to the use of sensors and the use of the ISOC (Italian SST Operation Center) command and control system. The ceremony then concluded in the Aula Magna of the department with the usual presentation of the certificates by Colonel Emidio Salmè, commander of the RACSA.

The airmen thus trained will be employed at the following institutions:

- Space Situational Awareness Center of the COA (aerospace operations command) of Poggio Renatico, where they will contribute to the exercise of functions such as the identification of objects present in orbit and the monitoring of space debris, "debris", also due to collisions in space between various types of assets ( in this case we talk about "fragmentation"). Other tasks include the so-called "collision avoidance", i.e. the prediction of possible collisions between satellites or with debris, in order to maneuver the assets in the event of a high probability of impact; and the so-called "re-entry", i.e. the prediction of impact on the ground, time and place, of objects falling from space;

– PISQ (Poligono Interforze Salto di Quirra), where they will work on the use of radar sensors for the sighting of objects in orbit, in order to allow subsequent updating actions by the C-SSA of the orbital parameters of the objects sighted or the inclusion of new ones;

– GIAS (aerospace engineering group) to support the development activities of command and control systems for space situation awareness purposes as well as operate on the experimental space surveillance systems in use by the department.

The RACSA, a body dependent on the aerospace control brigade of Poggio Renatico (FE), is located at the Pratica di Mare Airport. It has the task of training the officer, non-commissioned officer and enlisted personnel of all the Armed Forces, including foreign ones, regarding: control of integrated missile air defense, air traffic and meteorology and providing training support to other State departments such as civil protection and the national fire brigade. 

The general office for Space, established in 2017, is the branch of the Air Force general staff that is responsible for developing the policy and directives for the development of the space and aerospace capabilities of the Armed Forces. The Air Force, in fact, aspires to become the main enabler for access to space through the development of consolidated skills in the aerospace sector also through the training and development of excellent courses for its personnel.