Defence Secretary outlines the future of the UK space programme

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt has outlined plans for the UK space programme.

The Minister also committed £30m to fast-track the launch of a small satellite demonstrator within a year.

“The small satellite demonstrator, which will be supported by a new transatlantic team of UK and US defence personnel, named Team ARTEMIS, will sit alongside a host of other programmes that will demonstrate the UK’s leading future role in space.”

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, Chief of the Air Staff, said:

“I am delighted that the Secretary of State has announced our plans to take our space ambitions to the next stage through Project ARTEMIS.

When this is combined with our investments in the training and development of our people, improved command and control, greater space situational awareness, and our commitment to the Space Coalition with our allies, it all underlines the importance and constantly growing role of Space in the Royal Air Force’s capabilities.”

In a release, the MoD said:

“ARTEMIS gives us the opportunity to grow skills, understand the military relevance of small satellites and responsive launch, and consider how to get space-based information to the warfighter in operationally relevant timelines, all of which are vital to ensure we stay ahead of the evolving threat.”

The plans also include the UK becoming the first partner nation to join Operation Olympic Defender, a US-led international coalition formed to strengthen deterrence against hostile actors and seconding an RAF test pilot to Virgin Orbit’s small satellite programme.

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