Over the past year, UK Space Command – the Ministry of Defence’s lead for space operations, space workforce, and space capability – has taken command of RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire and the UK Space Operations Centre at RAF High Wycombe.
As the Command celebrates its first anniversary, it also reaches Initial Operating Capability (IOC), marking the completion of its initial development as an operational military command. This follows a year of rapid capability and workforce growth within UK Space Command.
In future, UK Space Command will command and control of all Defence’s space capabilities, including SKYNET satellite communications, the National Air and Space Operations Centre, and the ISTARI programme.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, the Chief of the Air Staff, said:
We are all dependent on space. It is fundamental to our security and to our way of life. Formed one year ago, UK Space Command has now achieved Initial Operating Capability, and is working 24-7-365 to make space safe, sustainable and accessible for the benefit of all.
Air Vice-Marshal Paul Godfrey, Commander of UK Space Command, said:
Space Command’s first year has been exceptionally busy, and our staff have been superb. Every one of them should be proud of their role in enabling us to declare Initial Operating Capability as part of our first anniversary. We will continue to develop our workforce and capabilities to ensure the UK and our allies continue to have access to space and the services derived from it.
The Command works closely with several allied nations in the Combined Space Operations Initiative (CSpO), Five Eyes, NATO, and other bilateral relationships, to collectively promote the free, responsible, and sustainable use of space.
Its first year has also seen close collaboration with the UK Space Agency to deliver joint civil and defence space policy as outlined by the National Space Strategy. The two organisations have worked closely together since the Command’s formation, especially throughout incidents like the re-entry of Long March-5B in May 2021, and the Russian anti-satellite missile test in November 2021.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the missile-tracking capabilities of UK Space Command have been a contributor to the UK and international response. Personnel at the UK Space Operations Centre and RAF Fylingdales have been monitoring this crisis continually since its outset having tracked more ballistic missiles in the last six weeks alone than in the whole of the previous year.
Now in its second year, UK Space Command will continue to deliver on the UK’s Space Programme outlined in the Defence Space Strategy from February 2022, setting out the government’s vision for Defence as a global actor in the space domain.