Space Force, Trump’s proposed sixth military branch that would be responsible for all defence activity in space, has been met with mixed reviews, to say the least. But keen-eyed space fans will recognize that this is neither the first time America has proposed a military space program nor is it the case that space is free of military activity. So let’s look at the long history of military activity in space.
For anyone outside the US, the five existing military branches are the US Air Force, the US Navy, the US Army, the US Marines, and the US Coast Guard. And the first three have long and ongoing histories in space.
The US Navy’s Vanguard rocket is responsible for the infamous Flopnik launch of December in 1957 as well as a handful of lesser-known successful satellite launches beginning in 1958. Currently, Navy satellite work falls under the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command that is based in San Diego.
The Army was responsible for the Redstone IRBM (Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile) that launched the suborbital Mercury missions. And of course, it was the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) team headed by Wernher von Braun that started developing the Saturn family ...