After more than 60 years, the U.S. military adds another member to the family.

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TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX
  • A bipartisan defense budget agreement will authorize the creation of the Space Force.
  • The Space Force will be, like the Army or Air Force, a distinct military service under the Pentagon.
  • The service will take over space functions from existing services, wielding them into a single independent branch overseen by a Chief of Space Operations.

It’s really happening. A bipartisan budget agreement for 2020 will see the creation of a new branch of the military specifically oriented towards space. The United States Space Force will be the first new service branch in more than 60 years, tasked to ensure America’s freedom to operate in outer space—or take space away from somebody else.

According to a draft of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Agreement, also known as the 2020 U.S. defense budget, the Pentagon will redesignate the U.S. Air Force’s Space Command the U.S. Space Force, spinning it off from an arm of the Air Force into a separate service.

The service will be headed by a Chief of Space Operations, similar to how the U.S. Navy is headed by a Chief of Naval Operations and consist of “the space forces and such assets as may be organic therein.” That’s pretty ambiguous language but probably means most of the Air Force’s space assets, from satellite launching facilities like Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to spacecraft ground control bases like Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado. It’ll also include america’s network of GPS satellites, the X-37B spaceplane, and other military space assets. The Space Force will also likely strip away a smaller number of assets and personnel from the U.S. Army and Navy.

X-37B OTV4 lands at Kennedy Space Center
The U.S. Air Force X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle 4 landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida May 7, 2017. The X-37B might very well be transferred over to the new Space Force.
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