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Defence formally establishes new Space Division

Charbel Kadib

Plans for the establishment of a new Space Division have been unveiled following the appointment of an inaugural domain lead.

Defence formally establishes new Space Division
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Defence has confirmed that a Space Division headquarters will be established within the Royal Australian Air Force in early 2022.

Earlier this month, Defence revealed that the division would be led by Air Vice-Marshal Catherine Roberts, AM, CSC, who will take the reins in January. 

Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, AO, DSC, said the new domain would play a critical role in supporting Defence’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,” AIRMSHL Hupfeld said.

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

AIRMSHL Hupfeld noted the government’s commitment to invest approximately $7 billion in space capabilities over the next 10 years, helping to facilitate access to space, space services and geospatial information.

“Defence will need capabilities that directly contribute to outcomes in space as a contested domain, however this does not mean that Defence encourages the militarisation of space,” he continued.

“All space operations are conducted consistent with international and domestic legal obligations.”

As the interim domain lead, AIRMSHL Hupfeld is currently conducting a Space Domain Review aimed at improving space capability management, acquisition and operation.

The Chief of Air Force welcomed incoming Head of the Space Division, AVM Roberts, stating “there is no person better suited for the job”.

AVM Roberts said her appointment was a “dream come true”.

“To reach for the stars and actually get there is a phenomenal feeling,” she said.

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

AVM Roberts currently serves as Head of Air Force Capability, responsible for conceptualising and shaping the future requirements of the RAAF.

The new Head of the Space Division’s over 30-year career in the RAAF has included stints as Head Aerospace Systems Division – responsible for acquiring and sustaining fixed wing assets – and a period overseeing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

[Related: Inaugural Space Commander announced]

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