Leaders Chart The Course As U.S. Space Force Launches
by Jim Garamone, DOD News
May 10, 2020
Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett and Space Force Gen. John
W. Raymond cast some light on the previously classified missions of
America's reusable space plane, the X-37B.
The two spoke on
May 16, 2020 during a webinar hosted by the Space Foundation. They
updated the audience on the progress the U.S. Space Force has made.
The two showed a recruiting video about the Space Force, and in
it Barrett revealed that one part of the presentation showed the
X-37B's return to Earth. The X-37B is an unmanned space plane
boosted into orbit by a rocket and gliding to Earth like the space
shuttle. Built by Boeing, the craft has completed five missions with
a total of 2,865 days on orbit, Barrett said.
Force's Rapid Capability Office has combined forces with the Air
Force Research Lab, and now with the U.S. Space Force to execute a
mission that maximizes the X 37-B's unique capabilities, she said.
"This important mission will host more experiments than any prior
X-37B flight, including two NASA experiments," she added.
of the experiments will test the reaction of "significant materials"
to the conditions in space," Barrett said. A second experiment will
study the effect of ambient space radiation on seeds. A third
experiment, designed by the Naval Research Laboratory, transforms
solar power into radiofrequency microwave energy, then studies
transmitting that energy to Earth, Barrett said.
October 27, 2019 - The Air Force’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle Mission 5 successfully landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility. The X-37B OTV is an experimental test program to demonstrate technologies for a reliable, reusable, unmanned space test platform for the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jeremy Webster)
That mission launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on May 16.
"The Space Force dedicates this flight to the nation's first
responders and frontline professionals who keep America strong," the
The Space Force is already running with
roughly $15.4 billion in the fiscal 2021 budget request. That will
fund next-generation overhead persistent infrared satellites,
launches of two GPS satellites and three additional national
Raymond said it is a critical and exciting
time for space. "There are advances being made in all sectors of the
space domain, whether it's national security space, commercial
space; whether it's civil space with the moon-to-Mars program. I
would also include international space," he said.
Force is needed now because potential adversaries see space as a
warfighting domain, the general noted, and the strategic environment
in space has changed. "We've seen Russia maneuver a satellite with
characteristics of a weapon system in proximity to a U.S.
satellite," he said.
March 15, 2019 - Space and Missile Systems Center’s WGS-10 (Wideband Global SATCOM) ... encapsulated satellite mated with a Delta IV launch vehicle was revealed completely as the tower rolled back in preparation for launch at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station along Florida’s Space Coast. (U.S. Air Force photo by Van Ha)
Russia has also tested a direct-ascent, anti-satellite weapon.
"And just in the past few weeks, Iran attempted to launch an
operational satellite in making a claim for becoming a space power,"
Many of the American systems were designed and
launched when space was a benign domain, Barrett said. They provide
a range of capabilities that not only the U.S. military, but the
civilian world takes for granted. These include the Global
Positioning System, instantaneous communications, even the platform
for the webinar. The systems are vulnerable to malign actors.
"It is important for us to deter aggressive action against
American assets," Barrett said. "But if deterrence fails, we need to
be prepared to defend and, if necessary, shoot back."
The Space Force is dedicated to building the space capabilities
needed and to defending those capabilities, she said. The
operational side is important, but so is developing the doctrine
needed to police the actions that are taking place in space and
setting the expectations for what is fair behavior and appropriate
behavior in space, the secretary said.
Manning the Space
Force is a key to moving forward. Raymond and his senior enlisted
leader, Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman, were the only members of
the new service until last month, when 86 graduates of the U.S. Air
Force Academy joined them. The service has not had a problem
attracting recruits. Barrett said there has been "an avalanche" of
Raymond said there will certainly be a reserve
component part of the new service, noting that the Space Force
already works closely with the Air National Guard and the Air Force
Reserve and sees a similar organization in the future. He also noted
that service members in other branches of the military may be
accepted into the Space Force as well.
U.S. Air Force |
Space Command |
U.S. Air Force Gifts |
Our Valiant Troops |
Citizens Like Us