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02 February 2022

First ever UK Defence Space Strategy launched at King's

The Minister for Defence Procurement and Chief of the Air Staff announced the new strategy, which incudes £1.4 billion of additional investment.

Defence Space Strategy launch

The first ever UK Defence Space Strategy was launched at a special event at King’s College London yesterday (Tuesday 1 February).

The Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin, and the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, announced the new strategy, including £1.4 billion of additional investment in space defence, to an audience at King’s and online.

Hosted by the Freeman Air & Space Institute, in King’s School of Security Studies, the launch welcomed guests representing government, business, the armed forces and international allies’ diplomatic missions, as well as King’s staff and students.

The Defence Space Strategy sets out the government’s vision for UK defence to be a global actor in a space domain that is increasingly congested and competitive. It articulates how the Ministry Of Defence (MOD) will protect and defend UK interests in space, as set out in the National Space Strategy (published in September 2021), through space-related capabilities and operations, as well as the growth of a space workforce.

The Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin said:

Our innovative space research and development will inspire a new generation and enhance the expertise of an entire sector. We’re boldly pushing back frontiers of our defence space ambitions, not just enhancing our military resilience, strengthening our security, and furthering our prosperity, we are applying rocket boosters to the UK’s innovative instincts, and helping our space sector surge ahead of the threats we’ll face in the future.

Jeremy Quin

The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston said:

Our additional investment of £1.4 billion will enhance our understanding of the threats and hazards in the space domain…to protect and promote UK interest.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston

The Defence Procurement Minister, Jeremy Quin, and Chief of the Air Staff, Sir Mike Wigston, were welcomed by President & Principal of King's College London, Professor Shitij Kapur. He said:

We are very grateful to the Ministry of Defence, to the Minister, to the Chief of Air Staff for using us as a launch pad for the Strategy. King’s has had nearly a 200 year history of a very constructive partnership with our armed forces.

Professor Shitij Kapur

Following the launch of the strategy, Professor John Gearson, Director of the Freeman Air & Space Institute, chaired a panel of space experts featuring Air Vice-Marshal Harv Smyth, Director Space MOD; Natalie Moore, Head of Space Policy MOD; Air Vice-Marshal Paul Godfrey, Commander UK Space Command; and Rebecca Evernden, Director Space at BEIS.

Panellists welcomed the new strategy, underlining its importance in boosting UK defence capabilities and emphasising the value of allies and partnerships in pursuit of a safe and secure space domain.

During the panel discussion and audience Q&A session, the principles of the Strategy were discussed, including the need to nurture and grow new talent and expertise in space and form robust connections with business, science and academia to drive forward innovative thinking.

The Freeman Air and Space Institute (FASI) is an inter-disciplinary research institute in the School of Security Studies, King’s College London, which provides independent, original knowledge and understanding of air and space issues.

FASI is dedicated to generating original knowledge and understanding of air and space issues. The Institute seeks to inform scholarly, policy and doctrinal debates in a rapidly evolving strategic environment characterised by transformative technological change which is increasing the complexity of the air and space domains.