Patrick Air Force Base designated a Space Force base

Rachael Joy, Florida Today Published 12:05 p.m. ET Dec. 23, 2019 | Updated 12:14 p.m. ET Dec. 23, 2019


Vice President Mike Pence visited Cape Canaveral on Dec. 18, 2018, to watch a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch. The launch was scrubbed shortly before its 9:37 a.m. target time. Pence delivered remarks at Kennedy Space Center shortly after.


The Space Force is now official.

President Trump signed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act into law Friday establishing the U.S. Space Force as the sixth armed service of the United States alongside the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard.

More: Donald Trump signs defense bill that creates Space Force

“Effective immediately, consider yourselves airmen assigned to the United States Space Force” Chief Master Sgt. Scott J. King, Command Chief of the 45th Space Wing said in a video statement soon after the president signed the service into law.

President Donald Trump the National Defense Authorization Act Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. making the U.S. Space Force the 6th armed force of the America.

President Donald Trump the National Defense Authorization Act Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. making the U.S. Space Force the 6th armed force of the America. (Photo: Airman 1st Class Spencer Slocum)

The personnel of the 45th Space Wing overseeing space operations at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station are among 16,000 active-duty airmen and civilians now assigned to the U.S. Space Force.

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Patrick Air Force Base, and with it the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, is now designated as a Space Force base and could see a name change in the coming months.

Other re-designated bases are Peterson, Schriever, and Buckley Air Force Bases in Colorado and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

More: The Space Force is one step closer to reality, but it raises more questions than it answers

Brigadier General Douglass A. Schiess, Commander of the 45th Space Wing assured his fellow “sharks” — the nickname given to 45th Space Wing airmen — that the change should have no noticeable impact on space operations.

“The 45th Space Wing will continue to do its mission of assured access to space for the warfighters and our nation,” he said in a video. 

The law provides for planning up to 18 months so changes will roll out gradually over time. Air Force Gen. Jay Raymond, the head of Air Force Space Command and U.S. Space Command, will lead the Space Force until a chief is confirmed by the Senate.

“There are, as you can imagine, thousands and thousands of actions that are going to have to take place, everything from what is the uniform look like to a logo, all the way up to who’s in the Space Force and who’s not in the Space Force,” said Raymond at a Pentagon press conference on Friday.

More: Space Force, newest branch of the military, will launch Aug. 29

The creation of the Space Force seems to come at time of renewed interest and activity in the space industry. 

“You know, back in the day when I was a little kid I sat on the floor and watched a man walk on the moon. Today, with this Space Force and with the earlier stand-up of U.S. Space Command and with NASA’s moon-to-Mars, and with commercial industry — this is an exciting time to be in our business, ” Raymond said. 

Contact Rachael Joy at 321-408-0945 and Follow her on Twitter @Rachael_Joy.


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