Speaking from the Oval Office on Friday afternoon, President Donald Trump held a ceremony for the unveiling of the new, official flag of the US Space Force. He let slip that the US is developing a "super duper missile."
Opponents will no doubt flock to mockery, but come on, a super duper hypersonic missile, as the Defense Department confirmed, sounds like a worthy undertaking.
A Defense Department spokesman said that yes, the Pentagon is in fact working on hypersonic weapons. I can't be the only one who thinks that yeah, this is pretty cool. Fox News went on to report that the US is building "incredible military equipment."
"We have—I call it the super duper missile," Trump said, "and I heard the other night 17 times faster than what they have right now, when you take the fastest missile we have right now."
He went on to say "You’ve heard Russia has five times and China’s working on five or six times, we have one 17 times and it's just gotten the go-ahead."
The flag shows a field of black, a silver arrowhead is set against a blue Earth with an elliptical orbit encircling it. The words United States Space Force are in bright white beneath the logo. This is the first new branch of the US military in 72 years.
During the ceremony, Trump told reporters and those military leaders who had gathered for the occasion that "This is a very special moment."
It was in 2018 that Trump made his intentions to establish a Space Force known. He directed the Pentagon to get working on it, and declared his objective for "American dominance in space." The plan was to launch it by 2020, and here we are.
Trump has been made fun of for his plans to develop the US Space Force. Even a retired astronaut called the idea of creating a new branch of the military "dumb," since the Air Force already covers that.
But Captain Mark Kelly, and those who think developing new space technology, under an agency which has as its mission to do entirely that, is not a good idea, are completely wrong. NASA has been an amazing and inspiring branch of American research, aviation, and technological development. It has launched more that shuttles, but dreams of explorations and has opened up the fantasy and imagination of space flight into a reality.
Opponents of government funded space exploration say that the world is a mess, and we should fix that first before heading out again into the stars. But the reality is that dreams matter, the drive to explore outside of our world matters. While Elon Musk and his ilk are out there funding space projects that intersect with American interests, they are not fueling those interests.
The private sector is essential for space exploration to be a successful undertaking at this point in human history, but with funding, guidance, and imperative set by strategic military thinkers as well as top researchers, the dream of space exploration can once again become reality.