World news – GB – Minister of Defense’s speech at the 2020 Space Defense Conference

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Good evening, it gives me great pleasure to speak to you at the end of what was clearly a wonderful and extensive conference..

The diversity of speakers – over 45 speakers from the UK and abroad, and from the military and civilian sectors, as well as academia and private industries – illustrates just how important space is, across today’s society.

This is why the Prime Minister has a clear vision of the UK as a great scientific power, with credibility and ambition in space at its core.
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This conference demonstrated how defense will play a central role in achieving this vision.

We heard from the Chief of the Air Staff about the reliance of modern society on space services.

Earlier this year, along with the head of US space operations, I spoke about Russia’s aggression in orbit.

But space weapons aren’t our only concern. Lasers and ground jamming devices can pose a major threat to our satellites. And the infrastructure supporting it on the ground is still a dangerous target.

No wonder one of the constant abstinence I’ve heard during this conference, and in fact, throughout this year of Covid, has been the importance of resilience.

The UK Strategic Leadership has defined how we must become more flexible in space if we are to create a ‘digital backbone’ and achieve cross-domain integration.

We now recognize space as an operational area, driving capacity development to increase flexibility and competitiveness.

We are of course not the only ones and you have heard from many of our allies in the United States, France and NATO that are by our side as well, and they will be part of this journey as well..

But there are those steps that I want the British Ministry of Defense to lead this journey:

We must be aware of our weaknesses. Understand our dependence on space – whether for photos, communications or navigation. And in case we lose access to our satellite services, we have a contingency plan in place.

Therefore, we are working closely with the British Space Agency to establish a national space operations capacity.

Together with UK Space Command, it will boost the defense’s ability to generate and operate its own equipment.

That’s why we’re bringing SKYNET into Defense Property. It will provide our employees with the tools to power the world’s leading satellite constellation and ensure that they stay on the cutting edge of space expertise and experience.

That’s why, in July, we awarded a contract for £ 500m to SKYNET 6A. This new, more advanced space capability will provide continuous communications support to deployed British forces for many years.

I am pleased that the first International Day of Space Show has been very successful, and I congratulate the winning bids.

With innovations from space weather to space awareness, I wish these 10 companies every success as they forge ahead with defense contracts.

Finally, the flexibility will be about transforming for the future. Go farther and faster. Developing the next and next generation, technology, people and structures to exploit them.

Our evolving national space strategy will help us realize these great ambitions and defense will do its part – mobilization, modernization and transformation..

Fun times await. Last year, we celebrated 50 years of Britain’s first space project.

Your dynamic has not wavered since – our great British scientists, military and industrial experts..

Your continued commitment will ensure that global Britain takes its place in the next decade as a space power in the new space age.

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United Kingdom Minister of State for Defense Affairs

World News – GB – Defense Minister’s speech at Defense Space 2020 Conference
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