Is Star Wars quickly becoming a reality?

The U.S. Space Force is the newest branch of the military as our nation tries to keep pace with other countries

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Photo courtesy of today.com

The formation of the Space Force officially began in December 2019 when President Trump signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act. While this newest branch of the military is exciting, what’s gotten even more attention is the Space Force’s logo, which many have compared to the one from Star Trek.

There’s a new branch of the military called the Space Force. Now, while that may sound like something out of a science fiction movie, this isn’t fantasy: it’s reality.

As an experienced space nerd who has gone to Space Camp multiple times and hopes to work for NASA one day, it didn’t take long for me to find out about the news after President Donald J. Trump signed the Space Force into law on December 20, 2019 with the National Defense Authorization Act.

The vast majority of Americans, though, aren’t aware that there are now six branches of the military rather than five because most mainstream news outlets gave it merely a brief mention, if even that. The announcement may have surprised many, but the Trump administration has discussed the formation of a Space Force since 2018. 

Despite the lack of attention, this is actually a really big deal for the United States. It’s the first branch to be added to the military since the Air Force in 1947, and many other countries, including both our allies and enemies, have already dedicated military resources to space.

Most concerning is how two of our biggest global threats, China and Russia, have been conducting military operations in space for decades. The Russian Space Force was created in 1992 as part of the military and was later revived in 2015. Meanwhile, China created the People’s Liberation Army Strategic Support Force the same year. Japan, India, and the European Union have also developed their own space programs with militaristic intentions.

Although the Space Force won’t be exactly like your favorite sci-fi movie, it will allow our nation to catch up to others that have already had military focus on space for years.”

In other words, the United States is actually pretty late to the party.

Space is no longer a “new frontier,” as President John F. Kennedy called it in 1962. Almost 60 years later, 72 governments around the world have their own Space Programs. We’ve moved beyond the thrill of the first moon landing, and nations have already used their familiarity with space to their advantage by doing things such as intercepting other countries’ satellites.

As an official branch of the US military, though, the Space Force will be doing much more than simply toying with satellite signals. According to their official website, the program will be using weapons to ensure that the “United States’ interests” are met. 

Now, before you jump at the chance to join the Space Force thinking it’s a free ticket to turn your dreams of becoming a Jedi into a reality, unfortunately it’s absolutely nothing like the Star Wars universe. And no, it’s not like the Star Trek universe either, although you may be confused because the Space Force logo looks just like that of the Star Trek Fleet Command.

First of all, members of the Space Force don’t actually go to space at all. Instead, they control mechanisms in space from a specific command center on Earth. It’s a lot like the Mission Control team for NASA launches, who have screens to see everything that’s happening with the rocket and headsets to communicate with the crew on board. Their purpose is to communicate with the crew on the rocket and instruct them on what to do at specific times in order to have a successful flight.

The Space Force will have a very similar role, except instead of telling humans in space what to do, they will be telling objects in space what to do.  

Some have questioned whether or not the creation of the Space Force violates the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which has now been signed by 133 countries and outlines international space law. 

No, it doesn’t. The treaty only states that there cannot be any weapons of mass destruction in space, that all nations are allowed to explore space freely, and that celestial bodies, such as the moon, are only to be used peacefully. In other words, countries aren’t allowed to blow up planets like the Death Star in Star Wars. 

Although the Space Force won’t be exactly like your favorite sci-fi movie, it will allow our nation to catch up to others that have already had military focus on space for years. For more information, visit their official website.