ESEC, the European space Security and Education Centre at Redu in Belgium is a centre of excellence for space cyber security services, home to ESA's Proba mission control centres, the Space Weather Data Centre and the ESA Academy, as well as part of ESA’s ground station network.
The centre has been operational since 1 January 1968. It occupies an area of 29 000 sq m, of which 3000 sq m are developed. Technical areas include control centres, technical equipment rooms and antenna bunkers.
ESEC provides S-band links for ESA’s network of ground stations, as well as in-orbit testing (IOT) for telecommunication and navigation satellites for which hosts all the facilities used to test the Galileo signal.
The site hosts 43 steerable antennas operating in a variety of frequency bands (S, Ku, Ka, L, C bands). The largest antennas are Galileo IOT L-band (20 m), Estrack S-band (15 m) and TMS-1M Ka-band (13.5m). The 20 m L-band, 4.5 m C-band and UHF antennas for Galileo IOT are now joined by other antennas moved from Luxembourg: 15 antennas of various sizes, including a 13 m Ku-band dish will be maintained as backup for the facilities of the satellite operator SES in Betzdorf, Luxembourg.
In 2014 and 2017, two new 9.5 m antennas have sprung up at ESEC, a Ka-band used in the EDRS programme and an X-band deserving LUXGOVSAT, a Luxemburgian initiative to provide satellite governmental communications. The IOT facilities (antennas, measurement and processing chains) offered for telecommunication satellites (Ku- and Ka-bands) were used by ESA programmes (Artemis) and European industry (Avanti, Eutelsat and SES).
Since March 2016, the site has welcomed participants to the ESA Academy Training and Learning Centre, which, in collaboration with university academic institutions, aspires to transfer the expertise, knowhow and best practices of ESA to European university students. This offer is complemented by a Robotics Lab, which aims to sensitise secondary school teachers to using a space robotics environment to teach science and, in 2018, by a CubeSat lab, to be used to support the life cycle of ESA Education’s CubeSat initiative.
In 2019, the facility is also planned to become a European reference centre for cyber security services, operated by industry with ESA being the ‘catalyser’ of the interests in cyber security and the owner of the part related to space.
Moreover, ESA has also accepted the offer from IDELUX, a public company dedicated to developing the Belgian Luxembourg Province, to host the ESA Academy in its Galaxia centre where the ESA BIC Wallonie Redu (opened in 2012) and the Galileo Logistic Centre are already based. This means that ESEC can concentrate its operational and cyber security activities in Redu and that the educational activities can better develop in Galaxia.
Since 2007 Redu Space Services S.A. provides maintenance and operation services in ESEC, as well as facilities management services. Other companies are present in ESEC for different activities such as RHEA, Vitrociset Belgium, EPB and Creaction. Particularly RHEA and Vitrociset Belgium constitute the consortium that has provided the first cyber-security demonstration facility in ESEC.