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Australia wants a space force too

Australian Space Division
Australian defense ministry file photo of Lunch-box sized satellites (Cubesats) for the Australian Buccaneer and Biarri space missions.

The Australian defense ministry has revealed its plans to establish a dedicated space force unit within the Royal Australian Air Force in early 2022.

While falling short of establishing a completely new service branch like the United States did, Australia will stand up a Space Division headquarters, with personnel from all areas within defense reflecting the importance of the space domain.

Australia’s move is comparable to those made by Japan and the United Kingdom, who recently established the Koku-Jietai Space Operations Squadron and the Space Command, respectively.

Australia’s Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld AO, DSC, said assured access to space was critical to enabling the defense department’s multi-domain operations.

“We use space daily for understanding the weather, navigating, access to geospatial information and sharing information across Australia or across the world,” Air Marshal Hupfeld said.

“Defense is delivering capabilities including space domain awareness, sovereign controlled satellite communications and space-based Earth observation, and navigation.

“The government has committed to significantly increasing investment in defense’s space capabilities by investing around $7 billion this decade to ensure our access to space, space services and geospatial information.

As the Defence Space Domain lead, Air Marshal Hupfeld is conducting a Space Domain Review to improve how space capabilities are managed, acquired and operated.

“I congratulate Air Vice-Marshal Cath Roberts selected as the inaugural Head of Defence Space Division – there is no person better suited for the job,” Air Marshal Hupfeld said.

Air Vice-Marshal Roberts said the position was a dream come true.

“To reach for the stars and actually get there is a phenomenal feeling,” said Air Vice-Marshal Roberts.

“As an aero-space engineer I have always been fascinated by space – the ultimate high-ground.”