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The SST-Portugal Project

The Space Surveillance and Tracking Project – Portugal (SST-PT) is part of the European support program EU - Space Surveillance and Tracking and aims to provide the country with national capacity for monitoring space debris, as part of the EU Consortium -SST, which has the participation of seven Member States: Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Romania and SATCEN.
Portugal's participation in the European Consortium is based on the potential existing in the Autonomous Regions of Madeira and the Azores. Several studies have concluded that Madeira has unique conditions for spatial observation, not only because of the altitude of its central mountain range, but also because of the favorable conditions at the level of low cloudiness, during most of the year.

Optical sensors from the Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) project installed in Madeira are specially designed for the detection and monitoring of objects in Earth orbit, including all kinds of objects from artificial satellites (active or obsolete) to debris left in orbit (commonly designated as space junk).

These equipments allow the observation of Near Earth Objects (NEO's), that is, asteroids and meteoroids whose orbits lead them to pass sporadically very close to the Earth.

Landscape and environmental intervention

This site is part of the Central Mountainous Massif of Madeira Island, which is classified as a Geological and Altitude Vegetation Reserve in the Madeira Natural Park and as a Special Conservation Area (ZEC) in the European Ecological Network - NATURA 2000. It has a Land Use Plan and Management with the objective of ensuring good conservation status.

In terms of biodiversity, the high-altitude vascular flora, which occurs above the elevation of 1300 meters, exhibits about 54 endemic species, included in 22 families, some restricted to the highest peaks of the Massif, such as the star, the low heather, Hyssop, Arméria-da-Madeira and Violeta-da-Madeira, among others.

Under the Protocol between the Regional Government of Madeira and the Ministry of National Defense, the pedestrian route between Pico do Areeiro and the Juncal Viewpoint was revitalized, maintaining the natural stone as the base of the pavement, without applying concrete, making it more safe and attractive for tourism.
A project to control invasive species and promote the environmental value of indigenous vegetation was also promoted, covering 0.85 hectares. Control focused essentially on the removal of broom (Cytisus scoparius). The entire area was later benefited by the planting of 900 specimens of endemic and indigenous species, thus enabling the recovery of local biodiversity and, above all, ensuring greater security in the event of extreme rainfall and greater resistance to the spread of fire.

It is intended that this area for public use is a source of dissemination and promotion of its biodiversity, contributing to the identification of its geology, fauna and flora, through the availability of virtual information on the site.

Tutelage and Representation

The component of the Space Surveillance and Tracking Project (GPSST), namely the SOO - Optical Observation Site of Pico do Areeiro, is under the tutelage of the Regional Secretary for Finances, Dr. Rogério Gouveia.
Nuno Perry, representing the Regional Government, is a member of the GPSST, an entity whose mission is to prepare, implement and operationalize the national Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) capacity, under the responsibility of the Ministry of National Defense.
He has a degree in Computer Science and Business Management (ISCTE), with a postgraduate degree in Computer Engineering and Telecommunications and also in Information Warfare and Competitive Intelligence (Military Academy). He serves as Director of Cybersecurity Services and is an auditor of the National Defense Course (IDN).