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Who’s the “rocket man” now, Donald Trump?

Who’s the “rocket man” now, Donald Trump?
[Animation: Flickr user Gage Skidmore; Josh Barrington/ESA/Hubble & NASA/Flickr]

Shortly after Donald Trump was elected president, Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos jokingly threatened to blast him off into space, but it’s Trump who may get the last laugh. At a meeting of the National Space Council today, Trump said he will direct the Pentagon and Department of Defense to create a sixth branch of the U.S. military—a so-called Space Force—which will focus on dominating the great beyond.

“Our destiny beyond the Earth is not only a matter of national identity but a matter of national security,” Trump said, according to CNBC.

It sounds wild, but it’s not exactly a new idea. Last year, a sub-panel of the House Armed Services Committee proposed legislation that would create a “Space Corps” within the U.S. Air Force, a move that would presumably help the military ward off threats from space, Defense News reported. Going further back in time, Donald Rumsfeld led a military-reform commission in 2000 that made a similar suggestion, the Atlantic reported. And of course, Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” program from the early 1980s is the stuff of Cold War-era legends.

Ironically, Trump’s own secretary of defense, James Mattis, has opposed the creation of a new space-focused military branch. You can read more about that here while you search “How to become a space cadet” on Google.

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