Corporal Mitchell Astbury RAF qualifies for US Space Command 270820 CREDIT RAF._0.jpg
Space

RAF Corporal Qualifies With US Space Command

Corporal Mitchell Astbury said his ambition for a career in space operations started when he was just 8 years old.

Corporal Mitchell Astbury RAF qualifies for US Space Command 270820 CREDIT RAF._0.jpg

A Royal Air Force corporal has become the first person from an overseas nation to qualify as an Orbital Analyst with US Space Command.

Corporal Mitchell Astbury is one of two RAF corporals assigned to the 18th Space Control Squadron (SPCS) at Vandenburg Air Force Base in California.

He said: "To have the opportunity to distribute my sensor knowledge and to be one of the two British personnel working on the operations floor doing so is an honour.

"To be a part of an expanding space force, getting to watch new launches and missions really is remarkable and I am so thankful for my experience."

He gained his qualification after spending three months operating a live console in the Space Defense Operations Center and completing a two-week Astrodynamic Support Workstation Course which included producing a mission planning guide.

The guide is now being adopted as the standard for 18 SPCS personnel to use when creating briefing documents, the RAF said.

Air Commodore James Linter, the UK's Air and Spache Attaché to the US, said: "I am delighted Corporal Astbury has excelled in his training with US and Canadian colleagues.

"I congratulate him on an impressive achievement and the great work he has undertaken since embedding with US Space Command."

Corporal Astbury said his ambition for a career in space operations started when he was just 8 years old.

In 2008, he joined the RAF and he said his goal was "to be posted to RAF Fylingdales" as he knew their role was mainly "detection and tracking of orbiting objects".

Last year, the RAF became the first international partner in the US Space Command's Operation Olympic Defender, a US-led international coalition aimed at strengthening deterrence against hostile actions in space.

On Wednesday, a draft UN resolution was been launched by the UK, hoping to set out the requirements for responsible behaviour in space.

Cover image: Corporal Mitchell Astbury (Picture: RAF).