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UK establishes space domain awareness cell

JCO-UK became operational on 26 June and is based at the UK Space Operations Centre, which monitors space 24/7, 365 days a year. (Crown Copyright)

UK Space Command has officially established a space domain awareness (SDA) cell in co-operation with the US to enhance orbital surveillance, the Royal Air Force (RAF) announced on 4 July.

A UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson informed Janes the cell would be based at RAF High Wycombe.

The cell is known as JCO-UK (‘Joint Task Force-Space Defence Commercial Operations Cell') and is an extension of the US-led JCO programme that provides unclassified indications of orbital activity derived from public research, commercial sensors, and analytical tools, the announcement said.

JCO was established in 2020 to better monitor launches and objects in space and provide wide-ranging as well as timely SDA by collaborating with government, military, and commercial entities. Part of this involves the JCO-Global construct, which intends to deliver universal SDA coverage by establishing cells internationally. The JCO-UK cell, which became operational on 26 June, is the first to be established outside of the US and is supporting the ‘follow-the-sun' initiative that eventually aims to provide 24/7 SDA.

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