LONDON (Reuters) -British defence company BAE Systems has high hopes for its space business after acquiring UK-based In-Space Missions on Tuesday, giving it the ability to design, launch and operate complete satellites.

“It (space) will be a big opportunity for us,” Chief Executive Charles Woodburn told Reuters on the sidelines of a defence trade show.

BAE already works for space agencies and provides space products, primarily through its U.S.-based business. Adding In-Space gives it new satellite capabilities which it sees as key to defence missions of the future.

Woodburn said In-Space’s low earth orbit satellites were new to the group and would in the coming years offer military customers enhanced surveillance.

“The idea of having almost a dedicated space capability that goes with Carrier Strike even 10 years ago you couldn’t dream of doing, and now it’s a possibility,” he said, referring to Britain’s aircraft carrier and its accompanying naval escorts and submarine.Read more