GMV to Supply New Space Surveillance System for Spanish Defense Ministry

Spain’s Ministry of Defense, through its Directorate General of Weapons and Material, has awarded a €2.7 million contract to the multinational technology firm GMV, for development, implementation, and support and maintenance of the Space Situational Awareness and Control System (CCSE) that will be used at the Space Surveillance Operations Center (COVE).

That center, which is operated by the Ministry of Defense (MINISDEF) as part of the Space Command (MESPA) of the Spanish Air and Space Force (EA), was created on November 28, 2019, by Ministerial Resolution 702/18699/19 (Official MoD Gazette no. 233).

Since then, the center’s capabilities have been in a state of ongoing development, to achieve its space surveillance and situational awareness mission, and to provide operational support services for the Spanish Armed Forces. The center reached its initial operational capability (IOC) on July 14, 2021.

GMV has been providing support to this center from the very beginning, which has in turn been assisting the U.S. Space Command with its Global Sentinel exercises. As part of its support, GMV has supplied its operational orbit determination tool known as Sstod, for processing space surveillance radar measurements at the Morón Air Base near the Spanish city of Seville.

To help the center achieve full operational capability (FOC), the Spanish Ministry of Defense’s Sub-Directorate General of Procurement, which is part of its Directorate General of Weapons and Material, announced a competitive tendering process at the end of 2023 for a Space Situational Awareness and Control System (CCSE), and GMV has been awarded the contract.

The functionalities covered by this contract include orbit calculation and propagation, generation, and maintenance of a space object catalog (with open and classified versions), prediction of atmospheric reentry, calculation of flyby events, planning of observation and sensor calibration campaigns, calculation of Global Navigation Satellite System signal degradation, and integration and processing of space weather data.

This system is expected to go into service at the end of 2024. To comply with this timeline, the system will be based on GMV’s commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) system known as Ecosstm, which is already being used in other operational environments such as the German Armed Forces Space Situational Awareness Center (Weltraumlagezentrum), the civilian space surveillance systems of various other countries such as Greece, and GMV’s commercial space surveillance center known as Focusoc.

With this new contract, GMV is further solidifying its position as a European leader in the development of space surveillance and command and control systems, which is an area where the company already has experience in both civilian (institutional and commercial) and military applications.