The UK MOD’s National Space Security Policy and the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review call for improved oversight into the situation in space, as orbital satellites and debris increasingly congest the landscape. To support the MOD develop the capabilities to make space transparent, CGI is on the job to support the hiring of new analysts as well as develop a network of sensors to harvest data for analysis.
As part of the UK’s National Space Security Policy and the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, the UK set out a number of priorities for its relationship with space. Satellites remain key infrastructure for a range of critical functions within the UK and internationally, from communications to geolocation. Space however, harbours dangers, of which some are man-made and some are natural. Space weather, particularly solar flares, have the potential to severely disrupt a range of critical systems, making forecasting an imperative, while space debris is becoming an ever more pressing issue – with around one satellite per year lost to space junk. Space also remains a potential national security hazard, even with key global treatise banning its militarisation.
As part of the Government’s strategy, the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has hired CGI to create a transformation roadmap for the UK’s Space Operations Centre based at RAF High Wycombe – formally the UK’s Space Operations Coordination Centre. The contract has a number of dimensions, including a comprehensive framework for recruiting the space analysts of tomorrow (including a focus on capabilities in data fusion and real-time data analytics), as well as the creation of a “technical transformation roadmap”, through which the MODs space domain capabilities are enhanced.
The firm will work with the MOD to develop space situational awareness (SSA) for the UK, through which the country, and its allies, are better able to identify and respond to natural and man-made threats within the domain. As part of SSA, a network of sensors will be positioned in orbit through which data can be harvested – data fusion and real-time data analytics can then be performed to provide a clear picture of the current situation, as well as future projections, for one of the world’s most strategic spaces.
CGI’s Steve Smart, Senior Vice President, Space, Defence, National and Cyber Security, in the UK comments, “CGI is delighted to be working with the UK Space Operations Centre to support the growth ambitions of this UK strategic capability. For over 40 years, we have developed secure space and defence IT systems and we look forward to bringing this unique expertise, as well as our experience in business engineering, training, commercial tools and techniques from across CGI, to help the MOD develop its sovereign space capabilities.”
Group Captain Martin Johnson, Ministry of Defence’s Director of National Air Defence and Space Operations at HQ Air Command, says, “As stated in the National Space Security Policy and the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, space situational awareness is of growing strategic importance to the UK.”