Over the past decade, both the US and UK governments have designated space as a key focus as military operations increasingly rely on space-based assets for command and control, surveillance, targeting, missile warning and secure communications with forces deployed overseas.
In 2019 the Ministry of Defence (MoD) declared that space should be seen as “a war fighting domain” and over the past two years we have seen the setting up of UK Space Command, the publication of a UK Defence Space Strategy outlining how the MoD will “protect the UK’s national interests in space” and the announcement of a portfolio of new military programmes to develop space-based military assets. Incredibly, both the US and UK are also exploring the use of nuclear propulsion for their space systems.
The UK is now in the process of developing a number of UK spaceports – including in Shetland, the Western Isles and Sutherland – from where we will see both commercial and military space launches. We are entering an era of military space expansion by the UK which will inevitably lead to environmental harm and risk of instability and conflict.
We will follow up this online event with an in-person protest outside Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 3rd
• Dr Jill Stuart is an academic based at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is an expert in the politics, ethics and law of outer space exploration and exploitation. She is a frequent presence in the global media on the issue and regularly gives lectures around the world.
• Dave Webb is former Chair of CND, Convenor of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space and co-author of the new report ‘Heavens Above: Examining the UK’s Militarisation of Space.
• George Gunn grew up in the far north of Scotland and now lives in Thurso. He is a poet and has written over fifty productions for stage and radio and has produced several series for BBC Radio Scotland and Radio 4. He has a regular column ‘From the Province of the Cat’ in Bella Caledonia.
• Timothy Parker a recent graduate of the University of Reading, researched the development of UK spaceports and the implications of AI for the UK’s nuclear weapons programme as part of an internship for Drone Wars UK.
• Tor Justad is Chair of Highlands Against Nuclear Transport (HANT). He believes in the words of Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
• Lynn Jamieson is an academic and Chair of Scottish CND.