Air Vice-Marshal Paul Godfrey, who recently took up his post as the inaugural Commander of UK Space Command, outlines his vision for developing a strong, diverse and dynamic space partnership between the military, civilian and commercial space workforce.
I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity to engage with UKspace, in what will undoubtedly become a key relationship as UK Space Command develops.
On 1 April 21, I had the honour and privilege to form UK Space Command, a Joint Command, staffed from all three services, the civil service and key members of the commercial sector.
It brings together three functions under a single 2* commander: space operations; space workforce generation (training and growth); and space capability (delivering space equipment programmes). UK Space Command will work alongside Ministry of Defence’s recently formed Space Directorate, which is responsible for policy, strategy, and cross-government and international coordination.
Our mission is to protect and defend the UK and allies’ interests in, from and to space, delivering decisive space power, enabling freedom of action, and contributing to global security.
However, we cannot do this alone, and collaboration will be at the centre of everything that we do, be that with partners from the civilian space industry or other nations’ militaries. Not only will this enhance our operational delivery and generate the skills for our workforce, but it will ensure that we develop the space-based capabilities that will be needed by the entire space sector in the United Kingdom.
We will look to build on the long-standing history of civil-military space cooperation within the UK that is manifested in programmes such as SKYNET, a highly successful satellite communications capability that has collaboration at its heart. We will need to build on this type of experience but also enhance and develop new ways of working; integrating closely with commercial space capability providers.
In order to develop state-of-the-art, advanced capabilities, we will need to exploit novel and innovative solutions – not only equipment, but with our people, the working practices and our approach to national space education.
I want to recognise and harness the talent of our military, civilian and commercial space workforce to develop a strong, diverse and dynamic space partnership with an international reputation for innovative excellence, agility, quality and integrity.
This is a defining time for the nation and its ambitions in space, and is truly a time of great excitement for those involved in space. We have a unique opportunity to be able to form a new command with a blank piece of paper and future that is almost uncharted. There will be many challenges to overcome, but we look forward to overcoming them together with our colleagues in the wider space industry and I am very much looking forward to working with UKspace as we embark on this journey.