News story

UK joins new space partnership

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The UK has joined forces with Australia, Canada and the US to share expertise and resources dedicated to space operations.

A Minotaur IV rocket launches a United States military space-based space surveillance satellite into orbit (library image) [Picture: Senior Airman Andrew Lee, US Air Force]
A Minotaur IV rocket launches a US satellite into orbit (library image) [Picture: US Air Force]

The space partnership nations will be able to share knowledge and resources in areas such as space situational awareness to assure access to and enhance space capabilities.

In a joint statement, the partners have proposed to ‘co-operate on activities such as identifying and understanding what objects are in space, ensuring uninterrupted satellite operations, and the avoidance of satellite collisions’.

The statement goes on to say that ‘such activities will make a significant contribution towards a safer and more secure space environment while also enhancing mutual security’.

The UK armed forces have an increasing reliance on space, making this partnership particularly vital to the way the Ministry of Defence does business.

By collaborating with partners who share a commitment to the responsible and peaceful use of space, the UK can address any challenges in the most effective and efficient way.

Upgraded early warning radar at RAF Fylingdales (library image)
Upgraded early warning radar at RAF Fylingdales (library image) [Picture: Ben Sutherland, Creative Commons license]

The Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne, said:

The UK has a proud history of space operations and I am delighted to announce this vital partnership on combined space operations with some of our key allies.

We already work closely with the US on space and are already making a significant contribution to this partnership through the Space Operations Co-ordination Centre at RAF High Wycombe and the radar and analysts at RAF Fylingdales in north Yorkshire.

By sharing the burden of space operations amongst the partner nations we will all reap the benefits of more effective space operations.

The UK’s participation in the partnership on combined space operations fits with the aims of the 2010 National Security Strategy and the 2014 National Space Security Policy objectives, which emphasise that the UK benefits from a tried and successful approach to collective security using a wide set of alliances and partnerships.

Published 20 May 2014
Last updated 20 May 2014 + full page history
  1. Replaced photograph of RAF Fylingdales. Original version contained an image of Fylingdales' sister site at Thule in Greenland
  2. First published.