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News | July 8, 2021

Netherlands Ministry of Defence, SMC officials meet to discuss space cooperation

By Lisa Sodders Space and Missile Systems Center Public Affairs

U.S. Space Force Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, Space and Missile Systems Center commander, met today with Lt. Gen. Dennis Luyt, Commander of the Royal Netherlands Air Force and other members of the Netherlands Ministry of Defence on July 8 to discuss U.S. and Dutch space cooperation opportunities.

“Strong international partnerships are key to maintaining peace in the global commons of space and adapting to the fast-changing threats we face,” Thompson said. “SMC is excited to build on our great partnership with the Dutch, and for our future efforts together in space.”

The United States is looking to broaden collaboration and partnerships with the Netherlands in several military space mission areas, growing from their existing collaboration in MILSATCOM. The Dutch use Wideband Global SATCOM and Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite systems and are stakeholders in the Evolved Strategic SATCOM and Protected Anti-Jam Satellite systems.

Space domain awareness is a priority for both nations, particularly for military operations. Other space priorities discussed included space research, Earth observation capabilities, satellite production, launch capabilities, SATCOM and data sharing throughout the coalition. The Dutch military plans to work with the European Union and NATO partners on Space Domain Awareness and has commissioned a center of knowledge on space.

Thompson explained how Space Systems Command will be stood up this summer as part of the U.S. Space Force, and how SMC is leveraging agile, innovative and creative approaches and new authorities to improve space acquisition.

“We appreciate the opportunity to meet with SMC and discuss these important issues,” Luyt said. “We had a very fruitful discussion and are eager to expand our space capabilities through our combined partnership with the U.S. and our NATO Allies.”

Thompson also congratulated the Dutch delegation on last week’s successful BRIK-II satellite launch aboard Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket. The 6U CubeSat was the Netherlands Ministry of Defence’s first-ever satellite and is a testbed for various communications experiments that demonstrate the contribution of nanosatellites to military operations.

Thompson thanked the delegates for their time and commitment to discussing ways to broaden the two nations’ collaboration on military space mission areas, to better secure a safer future for all.