Britain will build ‘Royal Space Force’ to protect space assets says industry expert

The claim was made by president Will Whitehorn, who argued there will be pressure to protect Britain’s growing presence in space. UKSpace represents Britain’s commercial space industry.

Speaking to Mr Whitehorn commented: “I think there will come a time when we will have a Royal Space Force in the future, not because I’ll call for it or because our industry will call for it, because its logical.

“If we’re going to put billions and billions of pounds of assets into space, which secure the future of this country, then we’re going to have to defend those assets.

“Defending those assets might partly mean being able to launch new ones very quickly.

“There are going to be bad people in the future who will want to try and do damage to space assets and we have to take account of that, so I do feel a space force is coming in the future.”

The United States Space Force was established as an independent branch of the American military in December 2019.

Currently it has about 16,000 personnel, but this is expected to increase significantly in the coming years.  

Mr Whitehorn explained there are major commercial opportunities for British companies in space, but these will need to be protected.

He said: “In the short term the main commercial opportunities are secure data from space – server farms in space taking that heat out of the planet.

“I think in space we’ve the opportunity to not do that – to be a real spacefaring nation.”

The UK Space Agency, a Government body, wants Britain to be responsible for 10 percent of the global space economy by 2030.

Britain is involved with the European Space Agency and last year increased its contribution by about 15 percent.

Mr Whitehorn argued the main barrier to the development of the UK space industry is now regulatory.

He stated: “We can punch above our weight because the costs of getting to space are no longer the barrier.

“The barrier is no longer economic.

“The barrier now is going to be regulatory.

“We need to create a regulatory structure in the UK that wants people to come here.

“It’s a well regulated industry here but it may be in some ways too regulated.”

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