European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen) - (Agencies under Common Security and Defence Policy)

Security , Space


Not Applicable

Description  Go to funding source website

Agencies under Common Security and Defence Policy

Agencies have been set up to carry out very specific technical, scientific and management tasks within the framework of European Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy.


European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen)


  • Role: supports the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) by providing services based on space assets and collateral data
  • Director: Pascal Legai
  • Partners:European External Action Service, European Commission, European Defence Agency, European Space Agency and other institutions and international organisations
  • Established in: 2002 (Western European Union Satellite Centre from 1993 to 2001)
  • Number of staff: 115
  • Location: Torrejón de Ardoz (Spain)
  • Website: EU SatCen


The European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen) supports EU decision-making and action in the context of Europe’s Common Foreign and Security Policy. This means providing products and services based on exploiting space assets and collateral data, including satellite imagery and aerial imagery, and related services.


What it does

Under the supervision of the Political and Security Committee and the operational direction of the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, SatCen provides decision-makers with early warning of potential crises. This enables them to take diplomatic, economic and humanitarian measures in good time, including generic planning for intervention.



SatCen’s Director reports to a Governing Board chaired by the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR) or her representative. The Board comprises one representative of each EU country and one Commission delegate. The Chair convenes the Board at least twice a year and also at the request of at least one third of its members.

SatCen organigramme


How it works

It provides the following services:

  • Geospatial intelligence: Depending on the task received, SatCen analyses critical infrastructure, military capabilities or weapons of mass destruction, or other matters. It supports humanitarian aid missions, contingency planning and general crime and security surveillance.
  • Training: SatCen provides specialised training for image analysts.
    • Geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) course
    • Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) course
    • Imagery intelligence (IMINT) course
    • Imagery Analysis of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Nuclear Weapons-Related Facilities (Nuclear) course
    • Sketchup course
    • In-situ courses
  • Capability development initiatives

SatCen carries out projects and participates in programmes designed to develop new capabilities or improve existing ones.

It cooperates on other EU activities both with institutions in EU countries and with countries, organisations and bodies outside the EU.


Who benefits

  • the European External Action Service (EEAS)
  • EU countries
  • EU missions and operations
  • the European Commission
  • non-EU countries and international organisations , such as the United Nations, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).


See also

Key documents & publications

SatCen events

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