UK signs new space partnership with Australia, Canada and US
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed an agreement with Australia, Canada and the US to share expertise and resources dedicated to the space operations.
Signed on the sidelines of the ongoing 30th annual Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, US, the agreement allows for the sharing of knowledge and resources between the signatories in areas, such as space situational awareness, to assure access to and enhance space capabilities.
In particular, the partnership is expected to enable co-operation on activities such as identification and understanding of the objects in space, ensuring uninterrupted satellite operations, and the avoidance of satellite collisions, thereby facilitating more effective and coordinated use of space capabilities.
The activities are anticipated to make a significant contribution towards a safer and more secure space environment while also boosting mutual security.
UK Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Minister Philip Dunne said the MoD already work closely with the US on space, and is also making a significant contribution to the partnership through the Space Operations Co-ordination Centre at RAF High Wycombe and the radar and analysts at RAF Fylingdales in north Yorkshire, UK.
"By sharing the burden of space operations amongst the partner nations we will all reap the benefits of more effective space operations," Dunne said.
Australian Defence Minister David Johnston said the assured access to space is increasingly important, not only for national security purposes, but also for stock exchange and credit card transactions, weather and climate monitoring, natural disaster warning, communications and navigation.
Johnston said, "At the same time, the increasing congestion in space from over 50 years of space activities and a significant rise in space debris present a rising threat to our assured access to space."
The UK's participation in the partnership on combined space operations fulfils the aims of the 2010 National Security Strategy and the 2014 National Space Security Policy objectives, which directs the country to benefit from a tried and successful approach to collective security using a wide set of alliances and partnerships.
Image: An upgraded early warning radar at RAF Fylingdales in North York Moors, UK. Photo: courtesy of Ben Sutherland, Creative Commons license.