An intriguing scoop by SpaceNews: the United States Space Force plans to swear NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins into its ranks during a ceremony aboard the International Space Station — a move that seems bound to entangle America’s orbital and military ambitions.
“If all goes well, we’re looking to swear him into the Space Force from the International Space Station,” said Space Force chief of space operations General John Raymond, according to the site.
The Space Force is the newest branch of the United States’ military, officially created in 2019.
Hopkins is a NASA astronaut and Air Force colonel who’s scheduled to command the Crew-1 mission that will use a SpaceX Crew Dragon to fly to the space station next month. Notably, that’ll make him the first Space Force member to actually be deployed to space.
The move isn’t the first collaboration between NASA and the Space Force, but commissioning an astronaut into a branch of the military marks a significant meshing of the two groups. It also comes as a variety of experts decry the militarization of space.
“If humans do not stop and think politically about the consequences of their designs for outer space, humanity increases its risk of self-destruction through totalitarianism and the use of extinction-level event-triggering weapon systems,” wrote international relations lecturer Bleddyn Bowen this month.
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