By Annah Otis
Since its creation in 2019, the U.S. Space Force has attracted attention for its futuristic branding and unique mission.
While some people might think this newest branch of the military is exactly like what they’ve seen on Netflix’s “Space Force,” there’s more than meets the eye about guardians and the work that they do on behalf of the nation.
Here are five facts about the Space Force to keep in your back pocket:
1. It is the first new branch of the military in 73 years.
The Space Force was established on December 20, 2019. Growing pressure from geopolitical competitors and security interests encouraged Congress to formally create a service dedicated to protecting America’s space interests. Space Force headquarters are in the Pentagon, but bases are located throughout Colorado, Florida and California.
2. The Space Force mission is to enhance the way U.S. forces fight and to provide decision makers with additional military options.
This means organizing, training and equipping service members to successfully conduct global space operations. It also involves acquiring military space systems, organizing space forces and incorporating space power into military strategy.
3. Service members assigned to the Space Force are known as “guardians.”
About 16,000 uniformed and civilian personnel support the mission in many different capacities. Space Force guardians help facilitate federal and commercial rocket launches, operate Department of Defense (DOD) satellites, monitor for threats, track space debris and much more. They ensure the U.S. maintains its space superiority required to protect against hostile attacks.
4. The Space Force uniform, seal and flag have symbolic meanings.
Guardian uniforms feature a dark navy coat with silver thread on the sleeve braiding to represent futurism and the vastness of space. Six silver buttons – since the Space Force is the sixth branch of the military – run diagonally along the right side of the body. Each button is embossed with the Space Force seal, which shows a grid-lined globe overlaid with a delta.
The globe alludes to the Space Force’s Earth-based mission, while the delta represents change and innovation. These two elements are encircled by an orbit ring to symbolize defense and protection, as well as interagency cooperation. Two clusters of small stars represent U.S. space assets, and three larger stars stand for the Space Force’s functions: organize, train and equip. Beneath are the roman numerals “MMXIX” to mark the year the Space Force was established. The Space Force flag has identical imagery.
5. America’s planned return to the moon – and any trips to Mars – will involve the Space Force.
In addition to military responsibilities, guardians support commercial and NASA missions because the U.S.-flagged spacecrafts are considered national assets. Space Force will aid in human’s return to the lunar surface - called the Artemis program – by ensuring spaceflight safety and assisting in the astronauts’ return to Earth when the time comes.
The Space Force may only be a few years old, but it has already captured the interest of millions. There is no shortage of cool facts about the Space Force given its active role in so many aspects of military and civilian life. However, these five are a good place to start!
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