It was bound to happen and it has happened. The Space Command has just been created within what since last June has been renamed the Air and Space Army.
This is a direct and coherent consequence of the growing importance of outer space for communications and satellite imagery, weather forecasting, economics, data collection for disaster management and relief. Of course, for the security and defence of national assets in orbit and the prevention of possible pre-emptive hostile actions from beyond the atmosphere.
In view of the fact that the new name of the Air Force brings with it the sphere of supra-terrestrial responsibility, the Ministry of Defence of the magistrate Margarita Robles has restructured the basic organisation of the Air and Space Army to accommodate the new responsibilities assumed by the current Chief of Staff of the Airmen, General Javier Salto.
For example, the Air Force has become the Aerospace Force and an additional component has been created, the new Space Command, which has been assigned the task of centralising and preparing the units of the branch, as well as directing, planning, organising and coordinating the surveillance, control and operation functions in space carried out by the Space Surveillance Operations Centre (COVE) in Torrejón. The task of Major General Juan Carlos Sánchez Delgado, who is expected to be appointed as the first head of the Space Command, will be to equip it with command and control systems, assign personnel and a long list of other tasks.
The fact that there is not a single commercial, scientific or military satellite owned by the Spanish state will have to be resolved. Nor the fact that the Spanish Space Agency has not yet been given life after its statutes were approved by the Council of Ministers on 14 March. Fortunately, all of the above is planned and on its way in a very short time. And there is an explanation for this.
It is well known that it was the Chinese who invented gunpowder. Well, the president of the PSOE/Unidas-Podemos coalition government is already putting his interplanetary pyrotechnic skills into practice in the run-up to the upcoming municipal and regional elections on 28 May, where his barons and sponsors are putting their necks on the line.
Without being a skilled chemist, Pedro Sánchez has been able to take advice from those who have shown him and demonstrated that fireworks and fireworks continue to attract attention within the framework of the old but effective populist magic formula of "bread and circuses".
Moreover, making noise with fireworks scares political opponents. It makes them jump to avoid the deflagrations of small firecrackers. It even manages to disorientate and paralyse them, as has become evident with some opposition parties in the censure motion, in which Professor Ramón Tamames has been a guest actor.
President Sánchez's main pyrotechnic effort is now focused on galactic fireworks. His aim is to get many ordinary citizens to raise their heads to the sky, open their mouths and exclaim in amazement Oooh, how beautiful! Expected result: votes in the bag.
The Battalion of Advisors of the Moncloa Palace, the BATAPLOF, is the designer of the great pyrotechnic campaign we are about to witness. Once again, it will be in league with the plumbers and strategists of Ferraz Street, whose propaganda machinery is well-oiled and tried and tested in a thousand and one political battles, albeit with numerous slips. For example, it is mission impossible to try to make a character who is refractory to empathy and emotions accessible to the people.
For his pyrotechnic festival, Pedro Sánchez relies on two ministers. One is the aforementioned Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles. The other is the former mayoress of Gandía, Diana Morant, an important ducal city on the coast of Valencia, who knows a lot about fallas, traca and fireworks. Her main objectives: to reconquer Andalusia for the fist and the rose and to keep the mayoralty of Seville - which is the headquarters of the AEE for a reason - in the hands of her godfather, Antonio Muñoz. The national space sector will contribute to this, knowingly or unknowingly.
From the Moncloa palace, President Pedro Sánchez's cronies are dosing their space-related activities in order to sprinkle the eight weeks leading up to the political contest that is just around the corner, which will have its second and decisive part in the general elections of 2024, with news that will cause admiration.
I fear that, in the remainder of the year, we are going to see and hear resounding statements with no solid basis. Claims that Spain is almost like France or Germany in space matters. That Spanish rockets, although they are not like NASA's... but almost, almost, almost.
When the Miura 1 launcher takes off from Huelva, and if it succeeds as expected, fallacies such as Spain already occupying a place on the podium of the few nations in the world with the autonomous capacity to reach outer space will be repeated. It is worth remembering that the PLD company has a lot of credit for the development of the Miura 1, but that it is little more than a sounding rocket. In short, expect a lot of marketing for domestic consumption.
The reality is that Spain has an important space industry, struggling to win contracts on the international stage. It is true that they are successful in many cases, but still a long way from the potential of Germany, France, Italy or the United Kingdom, as is reasonable. But the executive does not care and its pyrotechnic festival is scheduled to begin around mid-April.
President Sánchez has started a political marathon full of fireworks and fireworks at the expense of one of his closest confidants in the Moncloa, General Miguel Ángel Ballesteros, director of the Department of National Security, who has opened his eyes to the strategic importance of the outer space sector and the need to create the Spanish Space Agency. Everything else follows from there.
The merit to be attributed to President Sánchez is that he has been able to take advice and do what his predecessor, Mariano Rajoy, did not have the political vision to do: set up an organisation such as the Spanish Space Agency. But what could be expected from someone who also lacked the guts to, with the law in hand, stop the Catalan separatists before their aggressiveness reached the limits of the irrational.