How NSpOC Protected The UK And Space In April 2024

20th May 2024
How NSpOC Protected The UK And Space In April 2024

The newly created National Space Operations Centre (NSpOC) has issued a report on its activity during April 2024. NSpOC “protects UK interests in space and on Earth and works with international partners to ensure space remains safe and accessible to all.”

One of the responsibilities of NSpOC is to warn the UK’s civilian and military satellite operators about threats to their satellites. April’s activities included warnings and notifications regarding:

  • Uncontrolled Re-Entry: 22 instances (down 12% m/m);
  • Potential collision risks: 1899 instances (down 0.2%);
  • Fragmentation incidents investigated: 2 potential incidents;
  • Number of Objects in Space 28,752 (+277, excluding debris);
  • Space weather alerts from Met Office: 10 (60% fewer).

Besides the above, NSpOC’s remit covers:

  • protecting and defending the UK’s space interests
  • missile warning
  • in-space collision avoidance
  • fragmentation alerting and monitoring
  • support to licence monitoring

Space Minister Andrew Griffith said: “As space technology advances, it becomes increasingly intertwined with our daily lives. From precise GPS navigation to highly localised weather forecasting, we rely upon space to underpin critical sectors of our economy.”

The alerts and warnings issued by NSpOC will play a role in immediate-term and short-term event notification. An example of why this is important is the need for power generation and transmission companies to prepare for geomagnetic storms. Currently, preparations include taking vulnerable infrastructure offline and not cause more widespread outages if something goes wrong.

Similarly, NSpOC will be involved with the challenges with GNSS satellites. Satellite based navigation is a problem, especially along parts of the Baltic Sea near Kaliningrad. Tens of thousands of incidents of spoofing or blocking of GPS signals have been recorded since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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