RUSI Space Power Conference 2023

Taking stock of the UK’s space strategy, examining how space fits into the defence framework and charting what the path forward may look like

calendarclock - (BST)
locationInstitute of Directors, London


Space is increasingly being recognised as a key domain that will shape the future of warfare. The war in Ukraine has showcased the utility of space assets on the modern battlefield; both sides have relied heavily on space capabilities for a wide range of services in both civilian and military contexts. New Space Commands are being set up all around the world. This is evidence that governments and militaries have already recognised their existing reliance and the potential of space assets to further enhance capabilities. Therefore, many countries are carving out new nerve centres to coordinate developments in space, with independent budgets. The UK is among these nations – the publication of its National Space Strategy (2021), its Defence Space Strategy (2022) and Space Power Doctrine (2022), along with the establishment of Space Command in 2021, have shown that the UK is serious about its ambitions for space. With plans established and the strategy set, it is now time to turn these ambitions into reality.

This conference will bring together senior decision makers and industry experts to take stock of the UK space strategy and progress made to date. The speakers and audience will discuss how space is slotting into the wider defence framework and how it will shape the defence and security landscape going forward. RUSI’s independence and convening power makes this conference an ideal place to host these important discussions between different stakeholder groups in the UK space sector.

When talking about resilience and defence it is crucial to not take space, and the assets it enables, for granted. The battlefields of the past decades have given the false impression that space can always be relied upon and is a digital backbone that is never vulnerable itself. More recent developments in Ukraine in the form of jamming and cyber attacks have proven that this is not always the case: space, the assets it enables and the services it provides can become targets in war itself. This, in turn, raises the question of resilience for space assets and what the defence of space systems might look like. The debate must also include the UK’s allies – on whose capabilities and exchange of information national security also relies. Integration with space is crucial for a modern force and integration with allies is needed for continued development and future success.

Therefore, it is crucial that previous assumptions are challenged, and that the future way forward takes into account new vulnerabilities, as well as the new capabilities and opportunities that commercial actors can provide. The Space Power Conference will provide a forum for these conversations with a diverse set of stakeholders present, ensuring an honest and open exchange.


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    Opening Remarks

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    Keynote Address

    Chair: Paul O'Neill, RUSI

    Speaker: AVM Paul Godfrey, Commander of UK Space Command

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    Panel One: Civil-Military Synergy

    Chair: James Cranswick, Deloitte


    Natalie Moore, Ministry of Defence

    Mike O’Callaghan, Airbus

    Josh Fedder, Department for Science, Department for Science, Innovation and Technology

    Neil Fraser, NSSL Global

    Mike Rudd, Day 1 People

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    Panel Two: Public-Private Partnerships

    Chair: Ali Stickings, Frazer Nash Consultancy


    John Reeves, ViaSat

    Allen Antrobus, Serco

    Justin Hodges, BT

    Lt Col Jim Cheesman, UK Space Command

    Dr Richard Davis, UK Strategic Command

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    The conference lunch is kindly sponsored by Planet

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    Panel Three: Resilience and Defence

    Chair: Juliana Suess, RUSI


    Gp Capt Andy Beasant, UK Space Command

    Nik Smith, Lockheed Martin

    Melanie Clift, Catapult

    Nigel Towers, Thales

    Lt Col Kristin Hussey, UK Space Command

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    Panel Four: Global Partnerships

    Chair: Major General (retd.) Bill Robins, RUSI


    Generalmajor Michael Traut, Space Command Germany

    Gp Capt Karen Moran, UK Space Command

    Brigadier General Paul Tedman, US Space Command

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    Closing Remarks

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    Drinks Reception


All aspects of this conference, including speeches and prepared and non-prepared remarks are entirely ‘OFF THE RECORD’ and are not for reporting, attributable neither to the individual, nor to the event. THIS INCLUDES ALL FORMS OF SOCIAL MEDIA.

Speakers' biographies

Allen Antrobus

Director Strategy for Air and Space, Serco

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Group Captain Andy Beasant BEng MSc RAF

Deputy Head Space Ops Capability, HQ Space Command

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Lieutenant Colonel Jim Cheesman

UK Space Command Capability Branch

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Melanie Clift

Director of Defence and Security at the Satellite Applications Catapult

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Dr Richard Davis

Programme Director, SKYNET 6

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Josh Fedder

Head of Space Strategy, Department for Science, Innovation and Technology

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Neil Fraser

Director Defence & Space Programmes NSSLGlobal

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AVM Paul Godfrey

Commander of UK Space Command

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Justin Hodges

BT Defence

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Natalie Moore

Head of Space Policy, Space Directorate, MOD

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Group Captain Karen Moran MA RAF

Deputy Head Plans for UK Space Command

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Dr Michael O’Callaghan FRAeS

Head of Future Programmes, Airbus Defence and Space UK

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Major General (Ret) Bill Robins CB OBE

Senior Associate Fellow

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Mike Rudd

Principal Consultant for Space, Day One People

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Nik Smith

Regional Director UK and Europe Lockheed Martin Space

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Ali Stickings

Associate Fellow; Business Manager for Defence Space at Frazer-Nash Consultancy

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Juliana Suess

Research Analyst and Policy Lead

Military Sciences

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Brigadier General Paul Tedman CBE

US Space Command

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Nigel Towers

Head of Strategy, Marketing and Sales for Thales Alenia Space UK

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Major General Michael Traut

Commander, German Space Command

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  • Platinum Sponsor: Deloitte

    Deloitte Space is the world’s first professional services practice devoted to the entire space value-chain, from both the government and private sectors, from Fortune 500 companies and aerospace stalwarts to emerging space companies and start-ups. We work with government civil space agencies and military space commands across the globe – designing new organisations from scratch, developing policy & strategy, supporting innovation and transformation, engineering & integrating downstream systems and protecting space systems against cybersecurity threats.

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  • Lockheed Martin UK

    Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin Corporation is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 114,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. Lockheed Martin has operated in the UK for over 80 years. From postal sorting technology to helping build the UK’s first commercial spaceport, its innovations and partnerships help solve some of the UK’s most complex challenges, contributing to national defence, security and prosperity.

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  • NSSLGlobal

    NSSLGlobal has been providing commercial satcom to the UK MOD since 1982 and now delivers integrated, assured solutions leveraging multiple frequency bands and multiple constellations across GEO, MEO and LEO bringing technical and commercial resilience for several NATO and European militaries, over 4,000 commercial and government vessels and over 20,000 land users. NSSLGlobal provides communications for multiple security classifications to Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels, Commando Forces, Air Assault, Special Operations and National Communications units and specialist RAF aircraft. Working with a wide and growing range of partners and suppliers NSSLGlobal’s team, which includes many veterans, works with end users and customers to deliver integrated solutions and services to meet current and emerging needs.

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  • ThalesAlenia Space

    A Joint Venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), Thales Alenia Space is a global space manufacturer delivering, for more than 40 years, high-tech solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth Observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. Thanks to our diversity of skills, talents and cultures, our customers (governments, institutions, space agencies, telecommunications operators), therefore have Space to Connect, Secure & Defend, Observe & Protect, Explore, Travel & Navigate. We also team up with Telespazio to form the Space Alliance, which offers a complete range of solutions including services. We are willing to have a win-win approach shared both with our partners and customers. The company recorded consolidated revenues of 2.15 billion euros in 2021 and has 8,000 employees. We operate in ten countries, with 17 facilities in Europe and an industrial plant in the United States.

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  • ViaSat

    At Viasat, we’re on a mission to connect every warfighter, platform, and node in the battlespace. As a global communications company, we power millions of fast, resilient connections for military forces around the world – connections that have the capacity to transform the mission – in the air, on the ground, and at sea. Our customers depend on us for connectivity that brings greater operational capabilities, whether we’re securing the U.S. Government’s networks, delivering satellite and wireless communications to the remote edges of the battlespace, or providing senior leaders with the ability to perform mission-critical communications while in flight. We’re a team of fearless innovators, driven to redefine what’s possible. And we’re not done – we’re just beginning.

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Lunch sponsor

  • Planet

    Planet is the leading provider of global, daily satellite imagery and geospatial solutions. Planet is driven by a mission to image all of Earth’s landmass every day, and make global change visible, accessible and actionable. Planet provides mission-critical data, advanced insights, and software solutions to over 880 customers, comprising the world’s leading agriculture, forestry, intelligence, education and finance companies and government agencies, enabling users to simply and effectively derive unique value from satellite imagery.

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