Public safety and security has and will always be one of the top priorities of governments and societies across the world. Public agencies have the basic function of protecting all elements of society, including citizens, the economy and critical infrastructure. The sector is in the midst of upgrading its high level of legacy equipment and moving more towards data enabled services. This digital transformation is needed to provide efficiency gains for governments to protect, prevent, detect and respond and face a growing number of challenges such as urbanisation, extreme weather events, natural disasters, cross-border migration, cyber criminality and terrorism. Space-based services are in a good position to support this transformation and are already present in several areas of civil protection (e.g. border control, maritime surveillance, demining and disaster and emergency preparedness and response).
Telecommunication networks form a critical part in the provision of secure operations in the fields of critical infrastructure, transportation and other governmental services. These sectors typically depend on terrestrial solutions, which at times may constitute a systemic point of failure caused by natural or human made disasters or cyberattacks (e.g. air traffic management systems). Satellite communications can help mitigate these major safety and security threats by providing secure transmission as a standalone element or complement by reducing the vulnerability and increase the overall resiliency of terrestrial communication systems. Earth observation data can observe, understand, decide and act in these critical situations and support in monitoring of natural-manmade disasters, migration flows, critical infrastructure or forecasting of extreme weather events. Satellite navigation can provide positioning and timing services for civilian protection and humanitarian operations, traffic safety and fleet management or authentication time stamping of financial transactions.
Govesatcom precursor, Iris, and European Data Relay System (EDRS) are some examples of partnerships between ESA and public/private actors where the development of satellite capabilities will enable new services and applications and thus support the needed transformation in the sector.
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