UK stands-up Space Command

by Gareth Jennings

The United Kingdom has stood up its new Space Command, with operations being formally launched on 1 April.

Reflecting the growing importance of the space domain to the UK, as illustrated here with a rendering of the Airbus Skynet satellite communications system, the UK established a new Space Command on 1 April.  (Airbus)

Reflecting the growing importance of the space domain to the UK, as illustrated here with a rendering of the Airbus Skynet satellite communications system, the UK established a new Space Command on 1 April. (Airbus)

First announced in November 2020 the Space Command will lead on UK space operations, space workforce generation in terms of training and growth, and space capability in delivering space equipment programmes.

In terms of its structure and how it fits in with the wider UK defence establishment, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has told Janes that this new Space Command is a joint unit under Royal Air Force (RAF) leadership. Space Command is located at RAF High Wycombe, which is also home to the National Air and Space Operations Centre (NASOC).

The standing up of Space Command follows warnings from the head of the RAF, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, who noted the increasing threat posed in the space domain by the country’s adversaries, adding that the UK needs to devote more resources to defending its critical space-based interests. “When deterrence has failed and political discourse has run its course, a future conflict may not start in space but I am in no doubt it will transition very quickly to space, and it may even be won or lost in space,” ACM Wigston earlier said.

In 2018 the RAF assumed command of all UK military space-based activities, taking over the role from Joint Forces Command (JFC), which is now known as Strategic Command (StratCom). At that time, it was noted that JFC (now StratCom) would continue to be responsible for satellite communications and space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR).

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The United Kingdom has stood up its new Space Command, with operations being formally launched on 1 ...

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