Plans to establish the UK’s own Space Command will “further enhance coordination of the UK military and commercial space operations” according to space industry association UKspace.
During an announcement about increased UK defence spending over the next four years, the Prime Minister said that the new Space Command – which will be a joint services command of the Ministry of Defence, to be established at a Royal Air Force (RAF) base – will protect the UK’s interests in space and control the UK’s first satellite launched from a UK rocket by 2022.
This follows an address by the Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, earlier this week at the Defence Space Conference, in which he said the government has “now recognised space as an operational domain, driving the development of capabilities to increase resilience and competitiveness” and that they’re “working very closely with the UK Space Agency to create a National Space Operations capability which will improve the way we share data.”
Will Whitehorn, President of UKSpace and non executive director on the RAF Main Board, said: “I am delighted Space Command is to be established and have long argued for it in order to bolster the UK’s ability to defend both the freedom of space and our sovereign assets in space. An important part of that ability will include a sovereign launch capability in the UK, and UKspace will work closely with the government to play our part in achieving launch capability in the north of Scotland and Cornwall. We will also work to ensure that our country becomes the global centre of excellence for the satellites and other space industrial assets of the future.”
This recent announcement about Space Command follows UKspace’s news in July 2020 that it is working with the RAF to develop a new Commercial Integration Cell (CIC) at the UK Space Operations Centre, something noted this week by Chief of the Air Staff, ACM Sir Mike Wigston, who said: “Working with key industry partners we are pleased to have established a CIC at RAF High Wycombe.”