The US Space Force plans to launch military astronauts into space one day. On the other hand, these deployments will not be made for several decades, according to officials of the new branch of the American army.
A little over two years ago, President Donald Trump declared his intention to develop an American space force. Supervised by Chief of Staff Joseph Dunford, it would then become the sixth independent branch of the country's military. Thing promised, thing due. Officially created in December 2019, this first "Space Force" now aims to conduct military operations in space with the aim of protecting American assets and interests.
To operate, the US Space Force relies on the space assets of the United States Air Force, namely government satellites and two Boeing X-37 shuttles which, since few years, operate secret and unmanned missions in orbit. In other words, at the present time, the USSF does not send any military personnel into space, but in the long term, things should change.
“At some point, yes, we will put humans in space” , said this Tuesday, September 29, Major General John Shaw, Chief of Space Force Space Operations Command. "They will then be able to operate command centers somewhere in the lunar environment or elsewhere" .
Lt. Gen. David Thompson, Vice Commander Space Force, echoed those ambitions this Thursday, October 1, during an online event hosted by Defense One , a media outlet specializing in US defense and national security issues. On the other hand, it will not be for tomorrow.
“Is it possible that in the future, members of the United States Space Force will physically, directly and personally go into space? I would say, absolutely” , he confirmed. "But it won't happen in five or ten years" , rather "in a few decades" .
In the meantime, members of the Space Force will have to make do with Earth, just like the rest of the military. Personnel for the new branch of service are currently deployed in a familiar place:the Middle East.
In addition, David Thompson also returned to the space capabilities of the United States' two main rivals in this "space race". Namely Russia and China. In particular, the lieutenant-general expressed his concerns, saying that these two countries had considerably increased their potentially threatening technology for satellites in the last ten years.
“During this decade, we expect them to be capable of threatening our space capabilities either kinetically or non-kinetically, reversibly or irreversibly, in just about every field” , he explained, referring to the Chinese. The same goes for the Russians, he added, citing a recent unclassified threat assessment conducted by US military officials.