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The UK has officially opened its own space command at RAF High Wycombe to tackle the threats posed by Moscow and Beijing in the cosmos. The joint initiative between the Royal Navy, military and the air force was set up to monitor anti-satellite weaponry which could affect everyday life. The £1.4billion base will add another string to the Armed Force’s bow to guard the UK after the MoD warned on UK property in space could be devastating to Britain’s defence, economy and infrastructure.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston presented the first eight personnel with new Space Operator badges on July 30.
MoD Procurement Jeremy Quin said: “It is vital we invest in space to ensure we maintain a battle-winning advantage.”
It comes two years after former US President Donald Trump officially launched the US Space Force.
General James H Dickinson, the head of the US Space Command and Air Vice Marshal Paul Godfrey, head of the UK Space Command, hope that it will help form deeper ties between the pair and send a message to anyone looking to cause harm.
Vladmir Putin and Xi Jinping have been sent a warning (Image: GETTY)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson with US President Joe Biden (Image: GETTY)
The two nations have been close allies during many conflicts in the 20th and 21st centuries, including World War 1, World War 2, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Gulf War, and the War on Terror.
But the idea of a ‘special relationship’ was first coined by Sir Winston Churchill in an interview with the New York Times in 1945.
A year later he used it during his Fulton, Missouri, speech in March 1946 when he spoke of “a special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the US”.
In a joint piece for The Telegraph, the US and UK space chiefs wrote: “Today, Churchill’s words are more resonant and relevant than ever as we look to adversaries threatening us not just from Earth but from space.
“Even with the level of threat to our interests in space, our objective remains to keep the domain peaceful.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston (Image: GETTY)
“Satellite constellations in low-earth orbit link almost every aspect of our daily lives whether it’s our transport networks, banking systems, mobile phones, the internet or television.
“Almost anything, or anyone, who is on the move benefits from the positioning, navigation and timing capabilities of our Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS).
“Militarily, space-based assets are critical for communication, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and navigation.”
The pair stated that both Russia and China had already shown “deeply concerning and potentially catastrophic” behaviour towards these assets.
They added that the UK and US are now “building on the firmest of foundations” to work together and combat the threat.
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Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin and Military Chiefs at the new UK Space Command. (Image: GOV)
The branch will work with the US to counter threats (Image: Ministry of Defence)
The piece adds: “Since 1963 the US and the UK have worked hand-in-hand at RAF Fylingdales to operate the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System and provide Space Surveillance for the benefit of both nations.
“We already share the same objectives: to understand what our adversaries are doing in space, protect our critical national infrastructure in this evolving domain, and be ready to defend it. And we are already collaborating on a string of space programmes.
“Our Combined Space Operations initiative bring our nations alongside Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France and Germany to strengthen our collective situational awareness, augment our policies and coordinate our operations in space.
“The UK was the first partner nation to join the US-led Operation Olympic Defender which aims to keep space safe for all nations.”