Donald Trump has officially signed a legal document forming the United States Space Force. Right now the new military branch is simply an aesthetic conversion of the US Air Force Space Command. However, in the future the US Space Force will include its own logo, uniform and special anthem.
For the time being Trump has assigned Airforce General John Raymond as chief of space operations for the organization.
“The law states that Air Force Space Command will be re-designated the United States Space Force, that will happen immediately,” General Raymond told reporters.
According to the government, 16,000 active duty airmen and civilians currently serving with the Air Force Space Command will be re-assigned to the new United States Space Force. However, this appears to be a temporary, superficial move for the purpose of bureaucratic record-keeping as the employees involved will “not actually become members of the Space Force and will remain in the Air Force for the time being.”
In fact, only 5,000 to 6,000 personnel out of the 16,000 will actually work for the US Space Force in the near future. Although they claim that the total amount of active personnel could eventually reach 15000 members.
“There will be additional segments to come, so for example there might be other units that are outside of Air Force Space Command purview that would also come into this service as well,” Raymond said.
The point being that the organization depends much less on manpower than it does on technological capability.
“The Space Force won’t be measured by the number of people unlike for instance the Marine Corps, which is really a labor-intensive service,” Barrett told reporters. “Space Force is much more measured by the technology and the capabilities.”
In order to reduce the need for additional bureaucracy The United States Air Force will provide an existing foundation for construction of the Space Force, including its officer training and recruiting programs.
“We do have a plan to rename the principal Air Force bases that house space units to be Space Bases,” Raymond said. He added “that will occur in the months ahead and we’ll plan that appropriately.”
The 6 military installations they have chosen to become a space base include
Buckley Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Peterson Air Force Base, and Schriever Air Force Base all of which are in Colorado as well as the Army’s Redstone Arsenal in Alabama and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
On Dec. 11th The China Commercial Space Alliance (CCSA) was officially born from an agreement between several groups including The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) as well as The China Space Foundation and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The action was undertaken in response to the exponential growth of private aerospace corporations after a 2014 decision by the Chinese government to open up elements of the space sector to private capital. Since then the country has lead global launch charts for the second year in a row- conducting 33 launches in 2019.
China has designated four main goals for their new alliance:
1. Strengthen policy advocacy and carry out industry research
2. Promote innovation and upstream and downstream integration of the industrial chain
3. Assist in regulation, and promote international cooperation
4. The latter aspect is to focus on countries related to the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative.
This new corporate conglomerate will function under the watchful eye of the China National Space Administration (CNSA). At the end of 2018 around 141 registered aerospace companies were operating in the country, 20 of which are engaged in developing launch vehicles or their constituent parts including Landspace, OneSpace and iSpace.
Companies also include multiple satellite manufacturers, operators and service providers, with other areas seeing activity including ground segment and space resource utilization.
In 2019 the world’s busiest spaceport was Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China. It hosted 13 launches this year and can technically handle a launch every sixteen days.
The first Chinese test of an orbital launcher with vertical takeoff and vertical landing capabilities is a craft called “Long March 8” in 2020- a kerosene-liquid oxygen rocket designed to launch a smaller 5 metric ton payload in to Sun-synchronous orbit.