What is the Space Force Mission? 5 Facts to Know About the Newest U.S. Military Branch

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.

Photo credit Space Force/Airman 1st Class Zoe Thacker

A Falcon 9 rocket launches on Jan. 6, 2020, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The rocket, carrying an installment of Starlink satellites, was the first official launch of the United States Space Force.

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.

Photo credit Space Force/Air Force Airman 1st Class Andrew Garavito

Air Force Senior Airman Robert Sleme checks on hardware capabilities for classroom training at Buckley Space Force Base, Colo.

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!

More Stories Like This

  • 10 Need-To-Know Facts About the National Guard

    Founded in 1636 but officially dubbed the National Guard in 1916, this mighty U.S. military branch has created quite a legacy in its almost 400-year history. From responding to natural disasters, to deploying overseas, the members of the National Guard are far more than “part-time” warriors.

  • 11 Facts You May Not Know About the U.S. Navy

    The U.S. Navy has a long and storied legacy, having been in service to this nation since 1775. Here are 11 facts you may not know about the Navy.

  • How Many Military Branches Are There and What Does Each Branch Do?

    With about 1.3 million active-duty service members, the U.S. Armed Forces is one of the largest militaries in the world. But what do the six branches of the military - the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force and Coast Guard - do?

Every day, America’s service members selflessly put their lives on the line to keep us safe and free. Please take a moment to let our troops know how much we appreciate their service and sacrifice.


Sign Up for Updates

Be the first to learn about news, service member stories and fundraising updates from USO.

By providing your mobile phone number, you opt in to receive calls and texts from USO. Text STOP to opt out, HELP for help. Message & data rates may apply.

Take Action

The USO relies on your support to help service members and their families.

Ways to Support