From 25 July to 3 August 2022, Romania participated in the multinational exercise Global Sentinel 2022 (GS22), organised by the United States Space Command (USSPACECOM) at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. The Romanian delegation included specialists from the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA), the Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy (AIRA), the Institute of Space Science (ISS) and a representative of the Ministry of National Defence (MApN) from the Military Space Agency.
Global Sentinel is USSPACECOM’s premier security cooperation effort, designed to strengthen and grow international partnership, improve operational collaboration and promote responsible behaviour in the space domain.
The event focused on increasing interoperability in Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) and consisted of simulations of specific missions such as re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, collisions between artificial space objects, fragmentations, manoeuvres and Anti-satellite weapons tests (ASAT). The main objective of this event was to collaborate and coordinate between operational centres in order to assess the risks of space-based SST, from planning astronomical observations, space object detection, data processing, to risk analysis and corrective actions.
Each participating state organised an operational centre (SpOC), coordinated by a representative within the decision-making group (White Cell). The Romanian delegation included experts from the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA), the Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy (AIRA), the Institute of Space Science (ISS) and a representative of the Ministry of National Defence from the Military Space Agency.
RO SpOC was part of a regional group (TRANSGLOBAL) together with Poland and Canada, with the Canadian SpOC as regional space operations centre. Each participating nation was asked to support a regional multinational space operations centre to command and control their space situational awareness sensors to detect, monitor and track objects in orbit. They were also asked to respond to scenarios, designed to model real-world events requiring multinational cooperation. RO SpOC contributed to collision, fragmentation and re-entry analysis missions, as well as to anti-satellite test scenarios or in-orbit manoeuvres, with both observational data and specific analyses, performed in time for use in simulations.
This event, although not at its first edition, had many firsts: the first with 25 nations, the first to employ multinational regional Space Operations Centres, the first to allow national tools. But the most important results have been the partnerships and camaraderie forged between participants. Also, for this year’s new nations, including Romania, participation in the event gave the opportunity to witness top space specialists conducting space operations and learn from the best what space awareness entails, as well as provided access to essential equipment and data. Last but not least, it was an important occasion to learn how space specialists can train better.
“Global Sentinel builds partnerships and reinforces our international commitment to safe and secure space operations, and it is only expected to grow”, said Michael Syintsakos, Global Sentinel director, thus underlining once again the main purpose of the event — multinational collaboration.
Maj. Gen. Michael Morrissey, U.S. Space Command plans and policy director, spoke about how Global Sentinel promotes an international rules-based order, which is important for all space sharing nations.
“Strengthening our relationships with allies and partners is crucial to maintaining a secure, safe and sustainable space environment,” said Morrissey. “To this end, we are expanding our network of partner nations, international organisations and commercial entities. We are focused on enhancing our interoperability with allies and partners and sharing information that brings situational awareness, mutual support and technological innovation to the space enterprise.”
Global Sentinel began in 2014 with seven participating nations, and steadily increased that number year-to-year. For GS22, participation from 25 nations includes the U.S., Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Israel, Spain, Finland, France, United Kingdom, Greece, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Thailand and Ukraine.