The UK is enhancing its space surveillance capabilities through the introduction of the Nyx Alpha telescope. The UK Ministry of Defence has recently partnered with a London-based company to establish a ground-based telescope in Cyprus. Known as the Nyx Alpha telescope, this initiative will be managed by SpaceFlux, a British space technology firm, and will enable the UK Space Command and the UK Space Agency to more precisely monitor the growing quantity of satellites and space debris.
The plan is to have the system up and running by spring 2024 and restore a former but neglected feature. According to a Gov.uk report, SpaceFlux will build, maintain and operate the Nyx Alpha telescope system from the future UK Space Operations Center at the Royal Air Force base in High Wycombe, southern England.
This center co-ordinates both civilian and military space awareness to protect UK interests, such as the Skynet satellite communications network, from potential space threats. Air Vice-Marshal Paul Godfrey, Head of UK Space Command, highlighted the importance of this new capability in defending UK interests in space, stating that it supports the ability to protect and defend the interests of the UK and its allies.
Strategic location in Cyprus
The UK also secured space intelligence data from SpaceFlux and Raytheon Systems to support military and civilian operations in space. SpaceFlux has the largest optical mission sensors on the market with telescopes up to 70 cm in diameter, enabling the detection of dim objects from low Earth orbit to geostationary and cislunar orbits.
SpaceFlux is expanding its network to 10 locations this year and aims for a total of 25 locations by the end of 2024. Cyprus was chosen for the British Nyx Alpha telescope because it offers a better view of its geostationary orbit compared to locations on the UK mainland. According to the Ministry of Defence. The announcement was made at the British Space Conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and highlighted the crucial role the new capacity will play in securing the country’s space interests.