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DrRocket 19 June 2018 12:09 AM

Trump announces plans for Pentagon to create 'Space Force'
President Donald Trump announced Monday he is directing the Pentagon to create a new "Space Force" as an independent military service branch aimed at ensuring American supremacy in space though he may have limited power to develop a new military command.

While Trump has previously talked about his desire for a space unit, he seemed to take those musings one step further, specifically ordering the Pentagon to begin the creation of a sixth branch of the American armed forces.

WildaBeast 19 June 2018 12:17 AM

So... Trump just recently complained about how much money it costs to have soldiers stationed in South Korea, but having a "Space Force" is apparently completely worth the money.

Psihala 19 June 2018 12:19 AM

Did dear leader see Star Wars and think it was a documentary?

(*Impressionable minds, be careful...)

DrRocket 19 June 2018 12:56 AM


Originally Posted by Psihala (Post 1981176)
Did dear leader see Star Wars and think it was a documentary?


Or Starship Troopers.

crocoduck_hunter 19 June 2018 01:08 AM

He thinks he's Emperor Palpatine.

He's actually Jar Jar Binks.

BTW, aren't there some treaties that ban space weapon platforms? Or am I hiding my own Easter Eggs again?

thorny locust 19 June 2018 01:22 AM

There are, crocoduck_hunter

Whether there are significant holes may be another question -- I haven't read all of this link yet:

This is really very much not a weapons race that we want to have happen. And we clearly used to know that.

Cervus 19 June 2018 01:50 AM

He does know that illegal aliens aren't actually space aliens...right?


"We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force, separate but equal."
Separate but equal. Huh.

Alarm 19 June 2018 12:12 PM


Originally Posted by Cervus (Post 1981185)
Separate but equal. Huh.

Separate but equal but one has working vehicles, the other one has theories...

DawnStorm 19 June 2018 12:22 PM


Originally Posted by DrRocket (Post 1981180)
Or Starship Troopers.

I was thinking the same thing! I dunno, "Space Force" sounds like a Hanna-Barbera cartoon from the 70s. :lol:

GenYus234 19 June 2018 02:10 PM

If Trump does this, I assume he will do it by creating a whole new branch rather than splitting off the parts of the Air Force that already do space. That would be the least optimal way as it would create yet another realm of rivalry.

Ali Infree 19 June 2018 02:15 PM

When this administration started, I figured it would be a bit clueless and mean. Now, I seriously wonder how we, as a nation, can recover from this start, stop, impulse driven presidency. This is now normal :(.

FB already has Marvin the Martian memes about this, but I agree that this is not an arms race that I want to see...


RichardM 19 June 2018 02:15 PM

More smoke and mirrors.

jimmy101_again 19 June 2018 04:11 PM

So we'll have a "Space Force" without the ability to actually put people into space? I'm sure the Russians will be happy to launch our "Space Force" into space for a nominal fee.

Alarm 19 June 2018 04:57 PM


Originally Posted by jimmy101_again (Post 1981244)
So we'll have a "Space Force" without the ability to actually put people into space? I'm sure the Russians will be happy to launch our "Space Force" into space for a nominal fee.

Exactly. How is the "Space Force" going to be equal to the Air Force, or any of the other branches, when the technology to support it isn't fully mature yet...

We're not talking about infantry going to war with muskets, here. We're talking about men and women going to fight in space, where vacuum can kill you, re-entry can kill you, so many things that are not other people can kill you.

GenYus234 19 June 2018 05:38 PM

While I doubt Trump has thought this far ahead, a space force does not necessarily require humans in space. Both (more or less) static satellites and microgravity drones are easily doable with our current technology. Drones would be even easier to fly since the lag time for ground-satellite-air and air-satellite-ground would be ground-satellite and satellite-ground. Even if the satellite is on the other side of the planet, a satellite to satellite relay would be easier without atmospheric interference.

ETA: Resupply would be the biggest issue with space-based forces. While fuel supply would last much longer as fuel wouldn't be consumed simply to stay aloft, refueling wouldn't be as easy as simply landing. Mid-space refueling and rearming would be terribly susceptible to intercept. I would expect most space-based drones to use ion thrust and energy based weaponry as those would involve much less consumption of mass.

WildaBeast 19 June 2018 05:45 PM


Originally Posted by GenYus234 (Post 1981260)
While I doubt Trump has thought this far ahead, a space force does not necessarily require humans in space. Both (more or less) static satellites...

That's what Trump really wants -- a satellite that that can shoot a giant laser beam ant any target instantaneously, just like a Bond villain.

thorny locust 19 June 2018 05:51 PM


Experts were quick to point out that President Trump cannot actually create a space force. A new branch of the military can only be established by an act of Congress something that hasn't happened since the Air Force was split from the Army in 1947.

[ . . . ]

Harrison adds that a space force would not involve actual military personnel in space. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty states that no nation can claim territory in space, nixing the usual rationale for a troop presence. It also prevents the placement of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in orbit.

"There's no space marines; there's no people flying around with jetpacks," Harrison says.

Rather, a space force would consolidate command of the military's existing satellite systems into a single command. Those include reconnaissance satellites, GPS, missile-warning systems and communications platforms.
So a) Trump may not be able to do anything of the sort and b) even if he can, it's not likely to involve any actual additional forces in space, just a rearrangement of organization on the ground.

Once he figures out the latter, he may get a lot less interested in the whole idea. Presuming, of course, that he doesn't decide he can abrogate treaties on his own.

ChasFink 19 June 2018 06:12 PM

Yeah, I'm pretty sure the Space Force right now would be mostly satellites, which are already in military use, and space drones, which may be. But it does sort of open the door to normalizing the idea of military astronauts on military missions. This is not as trivial as it may sound: with non-commercial non-military manned spaceflight dying a slow death, the Space Force may be only government-sponsored manned exploration in the future.

Edit: I think if the idea of the Space Force really takes root, the treaties may not last much longer.

GenYus234 19 June 2018 06:50 PM

We are all assuming the worst about Trump. Maybe he wants to create Space Force because, in microgravity conditions, his crippling bone spurs will no longer prevent him from serving in the armed forces.

Psihala 19 June 2018 06:59 PM

Interestingly enough, the Air Force was working on manned military versions of space craft up through about 1966 (pre-treaty). The proposed projects included the Boeing X-20 ("Dyna-Soar"), which was never built, and the "Blue Gemini" program, which, as the name suggests, were military versions of the Gemini space capsule.

If memory serves, there is a "Blue Gemini" capsule of some description on display in San Diego(?).

Though the former was sort of Space Shuttle-ish, it was no X-Wing or TIE fighter.


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