ONE of the top commanding officers in the Royal Air Force has paid a visit to its Fylingdales base where he tried his hand at tracking satellites.
Air Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford joined a team of RAF and civilian space experts as they demonstrated the unique defence capabilities at the station and also took part in the simulated satellite exercise.
Sir Pulford, who is The Deputy Commander Capability and Air Member for Personnel & Capability for the RAF, said personnel based at RAF Fylingdales play a vital role in defending UK airspace and contributing to international space management.
He said: “Space situational awareness is part of the foundation for all successful military operations; from satellite communications with colleagues serving around the world to the precise navigation and movements of aircraft defending our interests at home.”
The primary mission of RAF Fylingdales is missile warning.
Its radar on the station is able to identify ballistic missiles before they enter UK airspace which is a 24 hour, 365 day task for which information is passed to UK and US Governments through the UK Space Operations Coordination Centre.
The station’s other role is to undertake space surveillance, routinely tracking about 60% of the detectable debris out to low earth orbit and contributing to the US Space Surveillance Network.
RAF Fylingdales Station Commander, Wing Commander Rayna Owens said: “This was a great opportunity for us to demonstrate the important work we carry out at RAF Fylingdales, ahead of our anniversary in September 2013 as we mark 50 years of Ballistic Missile Early Warning Operations.”