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02 16 2023

NCI Agency takes critical role in NATO's space-based data collection

On 15 February 2023, NATO launched a new initiative with 16 Allied nations, and invitees Finland and Sweden, that will transform the way the Alliance gathers and uses data from space.

The Alliance Persistent Surveillance from Space (APSS) initiative pertains to the establishment of a virtual constellation of both national and commercial space assets, such as satellites. This constellation, named Aquila, will help streamline data collection, sharing and analysis among NATO Allies and with the NATO command structure. This will significantly improve NATO's intelligence and surveillance capabilities, and provide essential support to missions and operations.

NCI Agency takes critical role in NATO's space-based data collection

The NCI Agency and Luxembourg signed a Technical Arrangement in December 2022, officially launching APSS under the programme management of the Agency. Over the next three years, the NCI Agency is tasked to deliver the APSS Initial Operational Capability.

Luxembourg's early contribution of 16.5 million Euros laid the groundwork for this transformative initiative and will allow participating countries to contribute to Aquila through their own assets, data and/or funds.

"APSS's early success was made possible by the close partnership of NATO Headquarters, the NCI Agency and Allied Command Operations (ACO)," said NCI Agency General Manager Ludwig Decamps. APSS is an example of a 'One NATO' initiative and constitutes an important element in the implementation of NATO's Overarching Space Policy adopted in 2019.

"This project is also a great example of civil-military cooperation, providing a powerful asset to our intelligence toolbox," said NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană.

Integrating and exploiting data from space effectively has been a growing challenge over time. By leveraging latest technologies from industry, APSS will help advance NATO's innovation agenda and offer a new platform to engage with the growing space industry.