Penny Mordaunt has unveiled a space programme and announced ‘the sky is no longer the limit’ for the RAF.
The Defence Secretary said the service would move towards becoming an air and space force.
Her ministry is due to spend £30million on the launch of a small satellite demonstrator within a year.
It is hoped the satellite will eventually feed high-resolution video directly into the cockpits of RAF fighter jets to provide pilots with ‘unprecedented levels of battle awareness’.
Penny Mordaunt said the service would move towards becoming an air and space force
Miss Mordaunt added she wanted RAF pilots to ‘earn their space wings’ as Britain competes to be at the forefront of a new military theatre.
It comes as the UK is set to become the first partner in Operation Olympic Defender, a US-led coalition formed to deter potential enemies from operating in space.
Eight British personnel will be sent to the Combined Space Operations Center in California over the next 18 months.
Miss Mordaunt’s speech also announced that an RAF pilot will be sent to Virgin Orbit’s private space programme, which is researching how to launch small satellites into space from the wing of a Boeing 747.
She said: ‘If you join our RAF you will join a service where you can become an aviator or an astronaut, where you will push back the frontiers of space and create a launchpad to the stars.’