China and Sweden have been co-operating in space business since the beginning of the ’90s when the Swedish satellite Freja was launched with a Chinese launch vehicle. SSC has customers in China within civilian functions such as weather, Earth observation, and space physics since the beginning of 2000. The primary service is the transmission of data from satellites within the above-mentioned domains to the customers, as well as TTC-services.
Data from Earth observation and weather satellites provide important information for a wide range of societal functions and is shared between countries, both on a free commercial market and in specific collaborative scientific and societal projects.
Another current example of our services for Chinese customers is that SSC, amongst other organizations from many different countries, provided support from our Chile ground station for the Chinese Cháng’e 4 Moon mission that recently landed on the Moon.
Assessments are made continuously
SSC is aware of risks concerning all aspects of our business. Therefore, we undertake careful assessments on all business cases and operations. Regarding data from satellites, we make judgments based on, for example, sensitivity of missions and data from a business ethic, security and security policy point of view and risks of technology transfer.
SSC can undertake measures in order to prevent misuse and there are ways to control how services which we provide at our ground stations are being used. These security measures are also important for our customers and fully accepted by them. We also have an on-going dialogue with expert agencies regarding these issues.
Today, it is not a unique capability to have access to Earth observation data from satellites. Data from such satellites are used for a wide range of civilian purposes and is prevalent all across society, for example, to analyze climate change and its consequences and to better utilize natural resources such as forests, water and agriculture as well as for Crisis Response and Disaster Relief where immediate access to reliable information is crucial.
To develop and establish systems in order to collect and make this data available is costly. Therefore, nations across the world co-operate in this endeavor, important for our common future. This world-wide co-operation involves most of the space nations in the world. China is no exception. For example, data from Chinese weather satellites which SSC provides services for at Esrange is shared within the global co-operation World Meteorological Organization (WMO) with both the American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as well as with the European EUMESAT.
In addition, data is also available from commercial Earth observation satellites on a global market.