The news of the new Space Force has been bombarding our television screens as of late. But what would a Space Army actually look like? Of course we can only think speculatively at this point because it’s still very much in the beginning stages. However, according to National Geographic, it’s likely that a Space Force would be stitched together through pre-existing programs- with the Air Force Space Command at its center.
This program has been in effect since 1982 and works to maintain military tech in space. This includes Global Positioning System (GPS) and the X-37B space plane. Theoretically, the Space Force would be the equivalent of the Army and Navy. This would include having Pentagon offices and a service academy.
Although the preliminary plans have been announced, the specifics are a ways off. The exact structure of the Space Force would depend on passing certain laws. It’s estimated that, at the soonest, it will take a year to make the Space Force a legal entity.
For example, legal experts have said that international law specifically would limit what a Space Force would be allowed to do.
The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 governs all major space powers on Earth, including the U.S., Russia, and China. The pact states that nothing in space can be claimed as a single country’s territory. The treaty also prohibits countries from stationing nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction anywhere in outer space- including in orbit around Earth.
When it comes to celestial bodies such as the moon and Mars, the treaty gets far stricter. Members of the treaty are prohibited from building military bases, conducting military maneuvers, or testing weapons (of all types) on another planet. So, while it may be bombarding our television screens right now, it’s light years away from becoming a reality.