Happy 4th Birthday to the U.S. Space Force!

With the support of two Space Force squadrons, OSIRIS-REx, NASA’s first U.S. mission to collect samples from an asteroid, successfully completed a seven-year mission on September 24, 2023. The U.S. Space Force (USSF) turns four today. The youngest branch of the U.S. military was established on December 20, 2019, with the passage of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act. Here are a few things to know about the newest U.S. military service. Space Force was created to address the growing importance of space to both national security and everyday life. Just as the U.S. Marine Corps is part of the Department of the Navy, Space Force is organized under the Department of the Air Force. Space Force’s ties to the air force are understandable. It was created by merging twenty-three different air force units, and Air Force General John W. “Jay” Raymond was named its first chief of space operations. Last year, another air force veteran, General B. Chance Saltzman, succeeded Raymond as chief of space operations. The air force’s influence over the USSF will likely continue for some time—it handles more than 75 percent of the space force’s logistics work. Space Force’s mission is to organize, train, and prepare its service members “to conduct global space operations that enhance the way our joint and coalition forces fight, while also offering decision makers military options to achieve national objectives.” Its specific responsibilities include operating missile detection networks and the Geographic Positioning System (GPS) constellation—the set of satellites that your smartphone, among other applications, uses to pinpoint your location. The USSF also monitors both intentional and unintended threats (e.g., “space junk”) to the 6,718 satellites active in space—more than half of which U.S. owners operate. And it works to enhance U.S. space strategy and the international rules governing […]

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By Donato