UK Makes Giant Leap As Space Command Becomes Official

UK Space Command will oversee all of British defence's space capabilities from its new headquarters at RAF High Wycombe.

A special ceremony has marked the official opening of UK Space Command at RAF High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

When at full operating capability, UK Space Command will oversee all of UK defence's space capabilities.

This includes the UK's Space Operations Centre, RAF Fylingdales, SKYNET and other enabling capabilities.

Under Air Vice Marshal Paul Godfrey, the Joint Command will oversee all space capability development in the Ministry of Defence (MOD) across three main areas.

This includes:

  • Space operations;
  • Space workforce training and growth;
  • Space capability to develop and deliver space equipment programmes.

Commander of UK Space Command Air Vice Marshal Godfrey said space "is vital" for the "day-to-day lives of everyone across the nation" as well as military operations.

"With our new headquarters officially open, UK Space Command is now on the path to lead UK space operations to protect UK and allied interests in space," he added.

Watch: What does the increased defence budget mean for Britain's space race?

After the official opening, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff, presented the first eight personnel with the new 'Space Operator' badges.

The badges signify the excellence of space professionals across defence.

Six members of the RAF received the badge, as well as one British Army officer and an exchange officer from the United States Space Force.

Based on the Airborne Specialist badge, the Space Operator badge features a single silver angled wing and a blue laurel surrounding a delta, an orbit ellipse and a constellation of stars representative of Aries.

Aries was chosen as UK Space Command was formed on 1 April – equating to Aries in the celestial calendar.

Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin described the opening of Space Command as "an exciting and important step in our commitment to operate in space effectively".

Watch: How would NATO react to a space attack?

"As our adversaries advance their space capabilities, it is vital we invest in space to ensure we maintain a battle-winning advantage across this fast-evolving operational domain."

The completion of Space Command builds on a commitment made in the Defence Command Paper to invest a further £1.4bn on space over the next 10 years.

UK Space Command will work with UK Strategic Command and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

The UK's commitment in the Combined Space Operations initiative is also carried by UK Space Command.

The initiative seeks to focus on ensuring a safe, secure and stable space domain and comprises seven nations: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, the UK and the US.

Cover image: Space Operator badge featuring a single silver angled wing and a blue laurel surrounding a delta, an orbit ellipse and a constellation of stars representative of Aries (Picture: MOD).