Australia’s first space commander has acknowledged the nation is “far behind” in the emerging military field, while admitting that China and Russia’s ability to take out satellites “frightens” him.

Defense Space Command, which combines RAAF, Navy and Army assets, was officially launched today and is led by Air Vice Marshal Catherine Roberts.

“I’m so happy to be launched, it’s been a long time,” she told reporters at the Air and Space conference in Canberra.

Air Vice Marshal Roberts now commands more than 100 personnel from a new headquarters in Canberra, where Defense is already developing “kinetic and non-kinetic” capabilities to take out resources from potential enemies well above the Earth.

“I think it’s really important that we start contributing, we have a few small satellites up there, but space domain awareness is where we can start, and we need to operationalize it because we’re so far behind.” , said the Air Vice Marshal. said Roberts.

The new Space Command brings together personnel from the RAAF, Navy and Army to develop Australia’s space capability.(Department of Defense/ABC News: Jake Evans)

Australia is closely following China’s SJ21 satellite, which successfully removed another of the country’s satellites from orbit earlier this year, raising alarm among the United States and its allies.

In November, Russia also caused a global shock by destroying one of its old satellites in an anti-satellite missile test.

“I think the activities of China and Russia, which have been pretty well documented in the public domain, scare me,” Air Vice Marshal Roberts said.

“I think our lack of capability right now against these threats is worrying, but I have a great ally [the United States].”

Defense Minister Peter Dutton today said Australia will one day need its own space force, similar to that created by former US President Donald Trump.

US Space Force Commander General James Dickinson, who was on hand for the Australian Space Command launch, said Australia was vital to US operations.

“It really needs allies and partners around the world to contribute their capabilities to this architecture, and Australia has great geography for that,” he said.

“Look at one, its size, two, where it is in the world in the southern hemisphere, and what those capabilities can do to provide us with spatial domain awareness.”

Australian National University space law expert Dr Cassandra Steer welcomed the creation of Space Command, but warned Australia should proceed with caution.

“It is an exciting time for Australia as a middle power to increase its presence in space, but we must be wary of using language, policy or strategic language that could be seen as escalating. “, she said.

“We really need to assert ourselves as a responsible space middle power.”