Air Operations 20190528-PUB790_AirOperations - Page 14
ON THE JOB SPACE OPERATIONS OFFICER
Rob is a Flight Lieutenant specialising in Space operations . Currently working as a Space Duty Officer ( SDO ) at the UK Space Operations Centre ( UK SpOC ), RAF High Wycombe . He leads a small operations team , is responsible for determining whether a ballistic missile launch is a threat to the UK , and manages the production of myriad space-related products for wider Defence and Government .
“ I HIKED FOR A FEW DAYS IN THE GRAND CANYON ; I SKIED UPHILL , INTO A BLIZZARD , IN SWEDEN ; AND I CANOED ALONG THE RIVER SPEY IN SCOTLAND ”
“ A typical day for me will probably involve a space launch or missile launch somewhere in the world ; we monitor these events 24 / 7 and make a determination as to whether a missile launch is a threat to the UK and deployed forces . There may be a space weather event to monitor and issue warnings for . We track space objects re-entering the earth ’ s atmosphere and which may overfly the UK in order to provide warning to the Government . I may also have to produce satellite warning service products for one of our many customers ; these products predict gaps in adversary reconnaissance satellite coverage . We receive many high-profile visitors to the UK SpOC and it is usually the job of the SDO to brief on the role of the unit and its variety of operational outputs . Having joined the RAF in 2009 as a Weapons Technician and spent a number of years working on a Tornado fast jet squadron , I commissioned in 2014 and was streamed into the Surveillance specialisation of the Air Operations ( Systems ) Branch . Upon completion of my training at the School of Aerospace Battle Management , I was posted to the Control and Reporting Centre at RAF Boulmer working in support of the UK Air Defence and Air Policing missions helping to secure the skies over the UK and react to any potential threats to the safety of our airspace . This was both interesting and exciting as when we were called upon to do our job for real , our work was regularly in the national news . Prior to my current post within the Space specialisation I undertook a deployment to the Falkland Islands where I was fulfilling a similar role to that in the UK , ensuring that our commanders were aware of all aircraft flying over the islands and , if needs be , being involved in the process of scrambling Quick Reaction Alert Typhoons to identify and escort any unknown aircraft through our airspace . During my time in the RAF I have had the opportunity to undertake many adventurous training activities . I hiked for a few days in the Grand Canyon ; I skied uphill , into a blizzard , in Sweden ; and I canoed along the River Spey in Scotland . A challenging and rewarding primary role , together with opportunities to do adventurous training , are the things I like most about my career in the RAF .”