New telescope boosts UK space awareness

Image Crown Copyright 2023

By George Allison,
Published by UK Defence Journal, 27 November 2023

UK Space Command and the UK Space Agency have recently announced a new contract with Spaceflux, a British space technology company, to construct a novel ground-based space camera-telescope system in Cyprus.

This development was disclosed on 22 November 2023, as per a press release from the Ministry of Defence and the UK Space Agency.

The project, dubbed ‘Nyx Alpha’, is geared towards monitoring objects in geostationary orbit, situated approximately 36,000km above the Earth’s equator. The primary aim of this telescope is to provide accurate position information about UK satellites. This is expected to aid in preventing collisions, protecting vital space assets, and enhancing the UK’s Space Domain Awareness (SDA).

This initiative is seen as a positive development for the UK’s expanding space industry, potentially supporting current employment and creating new opportunities in this sector.

A notable feature of the Nyx Alpha system is its design, which allows for the sharing of data with both partner organisations and international allies.

Spaceflux is set to undertake the construction, maintenance, and routine operation of the system. Tasking for the system will be carried out by analysts from the UK Space Operations Centre at RAF High Wycombe, operating under the UK Space Agency and UK Space Command.

The announcement of the contract award was made at the UK Space Conference in Belfast. Key figures including Air Vice-Marshal Paul Godfrey, Commander of UK Space Command, and Dr Paul Bate, CEO of the UK Space Agency, were present to make the announcement.

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