Two military chiefs have criticised China and Russia for “reckless” behaviour in space, such as using weapons to destroy satellites, leaving a trail of dangerous debris orbiting Earth.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, the head of the Royal Air Force, and General Sir Patrick Sanders, commander of Strategic Command, also for the first time left open the possibility that the UK could develop its own weapons to defend assets in space.
“I am not ruling out what we might do in the future, but we don’t want to weaponise space,” General Sanders said.
“We don’t want it to become a place where to use your language there is a conflict or even war in space. We want to make sure it is a common good for all because we all derive so much benefit from it.”
The two commanders were speaking at the official opening of the UK Space Command, which will take charge of all military work involving space now considered a domain of operations alongside land, sea, air, and cyberspace.
Air Chief Marshal Wigston said: “When diplomacy has run its course and we find ourselves in a global conflict, it might not start in space but I am in no doubt it will move very quickly to space and it will most likely be won or lost in space.”