In a boost for the UK’s space endeavours, the UK Space Command and UK Space Agency have awarded a contract to Spaceflux to construct a ground-based space camera-telescope system, named Project Nyx Alpha, in Cyprus. 

The telescope aims to bolster the UK’s Space Domain Awareness (SDA) by closely monitoring objects in geostationary orbit, providing data on UK satellites and contributing to global efforts for a secure space environment.

The recently unveiled Project Nyx Alpha marks a significant moment for the UK’s space capabilities. Developed by UK space technology company Spaceflux, this ground-based space camera-telescope system is strategically located in Cyprus, offering an enhanced view of the geostationary orbit compared with sites on the UK mainland. 

According to GlobalData’s Thematic Intelligence: The Space Economy report, on-ground optical telescopes and radars can observe, detect and track spacecraft and space debris.

The primary mission of Nyx Alpha is to provide position information on UK satellites, mitigate collision risks, safeguard space assets and ultimately fortify the nation’s SDA.

The UK is creating a comprehensive military space strategy. The vision is to ensure “freedom of action” in space by making sure that the UK has the capabilities to protect and defend its interests there, according to GlobalData’s The UK Defense Market 2023–2028 report.

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Air Vice-Marshal Paul Godfrey, commander of UK Space Command, expressed the significance of SDA in protecting UK and allied interests in space. “Space domain awareness underpins our ability to protect and defend UK and allied interests in space. The UK has critical assets in geostationary orbit, and Project Nyx Alpha will help us to monitor them more closely.

With its monitoring capabilities focused on assets in geostationary orbit, the telescope plays a role in safeguarding the UK’s assets. The contract award was announced at the UK Space Conference in Belfast by Air Vice-Marshal Godfrey and Paul Bate, CEO of the UK Space Agency.

Marco Rocchetto, founder and CEO of Spaceflux, highlighted the importance of SDA for the safety and security of in-orbit assets. “Space Domain Awareness is vital for the safety and security of in-orbit assets and is increasingly becoming foundational in space operations.”

The location in Cyprus, coupled with Spaceflux’s solutions, hopes to ensure timely, reliable and accurate SDA systems.

Moreover, the UK Space Command and UK Space Agency revealed plans for the National Space Operations Centre, which is due to launch next year. This centre will consolidate civilian and military SDA capabilities, aligning with the National and Defence Space Strategy.