The newest branch of the armed services – The U.S. Space Force – now has its own flag and plans to launch its first mission this month.
Officials from the Defense Department presented President Donald Trump with the Space Force flag during an event at the Oval Office on Friday, where he also signed the 2020 Armed Forces Day Proclamation, in what the president called “a very special moment.”
“We should have started this a long time ago, but we made up for it in spades. We have developed some of the most incredible weapons anyone’s ever seen. It’s moving along very rapidly, and we have tremendous people in charge,” Trump told the crowd at the unveiling.
According to the White House, the Space Force is the first new service and accompanying service flag in over 72 years. Currently, there are 16,000 people assigned to the military branch, according to Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond.
The new flag that was presented to the president is dark blue and white flag and has the “United States Space Force” logo and the Roman numerals MMXIX (2019). It also features a globe, a Delta Wing, an elliptical orbit, a white Polaris, two clusters of small stars, and three larger stars, according to the description the White House provided, along with the significance of the symbols on the flag.
In addition to the new flag presentation, The Space Force is scheduled to launch a robotic X-37B space plane on a new secret mission for the U.S. military Sunday, May 17. The X-37B space plane will lift off atop an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to begin its “hush-hush” mission in Earth orbit. Space Force officials said the launch, called USSF-7, is dedicated to the first responders and medical personnel who are working every day to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Our invincible American spirit drives us to motivate, collaborate, and innovate together to overcome adversity,” Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett said in a statement. “In dedicating this mission to the nation’s healthcare workers, first responders, and essential personnel, the Department celebrates those who are keeping America Strong.”
“America Strong” is the tagline for this mission, with Space Force and ULA emblazed on the side of the rocket along with the message: “In memory of COVID-19 victims and tribute to all first responders and front-line workers.”
Trump also announced during last Friday’s ceremony that the U.S. is in the process of building a “super-duper missile” that can travel “17 times faster than what we have right now.” The president was very excited about this accomplishment, which should come as no surprise, as Trump has always been a fan of the space program and announced early on that he was disappointed that Obama had ended exploration during his presidency.
“Space is going to be the future. Both in terms of defense and offense and so many other things,” Trump said Friday. “Already, from what I’m hearing and based on reports, we are now the leader in space.”
Hear Trump’s full remarks from the unveiling below.