Defence Space 2020: Defence leaders to light way for UK military space

5th November 2020

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace will join national and international military leaders and space experts from across government, industry and academia on 17-18 November to explore how the UK can mobilise, modernize and transform its approach to military space.  

The two-day virtual Defence Space 2020 conference, which is organised by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Air and Space Power Association, will see over 30 speakers and panelists tackle the challenges presented by Space as a military domain and the wider economic opportunities on offer. The conference will explore the strategic direction across Government  for Space and the new and emerging technologies which look set to disrupt national and international plans in Space.

Confirmed speakers include the Secretary of State for Defence, Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, General Sir Patrick Sanders, Commander UK Strategic Command, General John ‘Jay’ Raymond, US Space Force Chief of Space Operations and Commander US Space Command, Air Major General Michel Friedling, Commander in Chief, French Space Command, and Brigadier General Giuseppe Sgamba of the NATO Joint Air Power Competence Centre. The Programme also includes senior leaders from the National Space Council and Space Strategy Planning and MOD Space policy, Capability and Operations including Claire Barcham of the UK Space Agency, Samantha Job of the Foreign & Commonwealth and Development Office and MOD Director Space, Air Vice-Marshal Harv Smyth.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff, said: ‘The second UK Defence Space Conference will be a timely demonstration of the UK’s ambition in the Space Domain: our future programmes; the opportunities as well as the challenges to our national interests in space; and a showcase for our world-class space industrial sector’.

Day One of Defence Space will see cross-Government leaders and military commanders put into context the whole range of government interests in Space and discussion of the establishment of a National Space Council. Insight into the international military space landscape and the UK’s role with partners and allies in protecting and defending vital interests will be provided by senior commanders from NATO and the newly-formed US Space Force and French Space Command. Day Two will look ahead to the generation-after-next novel technologies which look set to disrupt how UK Defence meets its requirements in Space and ensures it has the personnel it needs to ensure operational advantage.

Uniquely, the live-cast virtual event will also feature pitches by the fifteen finalists of the first-ever UK-US International Space Pitch Day innovation competition, a UK-US initiative to find, fund and fast-track innovation and technology that gives advantage to military personnel and operations in the space domain. The finalists from Australia, Canada, India, the US and the UK will pitch to the panel and global audience on 17 November during the conference with the aim of securing contracts on the day worth up to £53,000 ($66,000) each to fast-track the development of their innovations.

Air Commodore (Ret’d) Mark Roberts, Chairman of the Air and Space Power Association said:  ‘Defence Space 2020 promises again to provide a springboard for the next phase of conceptual thinking, discussion and development of the UK’s approach to Space Power.  Of particular importance as we move forward with Space is how emergent and disruptive technologies may play a part in the use of Space in the defence and security contexts, and the conference gives a strong emphasis to this debate.  Additionally, we will have excellent input from international friends and allies to complement the strategic and operational views from the MOD and Front Line Commands. The Conference promises to be a stimulating and informative exposé of MOD’s Space Power direction of travel and I am delighted that the Air and Space Power Association is again delivering the event.’

Notes to Editors:

For further information about Defence Space 2020 please visit the conference website:

Programme details here:

Follow the Conference on Twitter: @airpowerassn  #DefenceSpace 2020

For more information contact the MOD News Desk on +44 (0)207 218 7907

For media enquiries related to the conference, please contact:

Carol Reed +44 (0)7879 697681

About Defence Space

The Defence Space Conference was launched in 2018 by the MOD. The Conference mission is to demonstrate UK Defence’s growing strategic interest in the Space Domain to an influential global audience; to establish and enhance the UK MOD’s relationships with partners across Government, UK space industrial sector, international partners, and academic institutes; and to educate/update key staffs on MOD space activity, planning and thinking; and to enthuse and inspire key stakeholders within Defence and more broadly with the potential for future space innovation. The conference is delivered by the Air Power Association on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence.

About the Air and Space Power Association

The Air and Space Power Association (ASPA) is an independent authoritative voice and platform for discussion and debate on the influence and relevance of air and space power both now and in the future.