UK aims to become ‘meaningful player in space’

By George Allison,
Published by UK Defence Journal, 16 March 2021

The UK is planning to establish a new Space Command by Summer 2021.

The 100-page Integrated Review document sets out the UK’s national security and foreign policy approach.

The following is an excerpt from the document.

“Since 2010, space has proved to be one of the UK’s fastest growing sectors, trebling
in size. It now employs 42,000 people and generates an income of £14.8 billion each
year, with particular strengths in small satellite technology, satellite and deep-space
telecommunications, robotics and Earth observation.

The UK nevertheless relies heavily on our allies for access to critical capabilities, such
as satellite launch. By 2030, the Government’s ambition is for the UK to have the ability
to monitor, protect and defend our interests in and through space, using a mixture of
sovereign capabilities and burden-sharing partnerships with our allies.”

The Integrated Review sets out what the UK will do next:

• Establish a new Space Command by summer 2021, ensuring that the armed
forces have cutting-edge capabilities to advance UK interests on Earth and in
space – enhancing our cooperation with allies and ensuring we can compete with
our adversaries.

• Develop a commercial launch capability from the UK – launching British satellites
from Scotland by 2022 as part of the UK Space Agency’s programme to enable a
UK-wide market for spaceflight services. This will give us greater strategic autonomy
and flexibility in terms of what the UK puts into space, and when.

• Develop other critical space capabilities for military and civil use, including Space
Domain Awareness, which uses integrated in-space and ground sensing to track
space debris, investigate incidents in space, and detect, anticipate and attribute
hostile activity.

• Support the UK space sector to realise the economic benefits from this new and
dynamic market, and extend the UK’s influence in the space domain. As part of
building the UK’s strategic advantage through S&T, the Government will build the
enabling environment for a thriving UK space industry developing space- and
ground-based technologies. We will promote a ‘whole-of-life’ offer from R&D
through finance to satellite operations, launch capability data applications and
end‑of-life services. Defence will carry out more space-related science activity,
R&D and operational concept demonstrators.

• Prevent the proliferation of technologies that pose a threat in space, such as ballistic
missile technologies, through robust export controls.

• Increase the UK’s international collaboration across our space-related objectives.
We intend to continue our participation in the EU’s Copernicus Earth observation
programme, and will deepen our cooperation with NATO and through the
Combined Space Operations (CSpO) initiative. We will also develop our work with
bodies including NASA and the European, Canadian, Australian and Japanese
space agencies.

See: Original Article