Space Force members can travel to the Moon, if they’re picked by NASA

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INTRO: Since the Space Force was established in December 2019, officials have had to dispel misconceptions that the service will have a human spaceflight program and deploy troops to the moon. At least for the foreseeable future, any member of the Space Force who wants to go to space has to compete for a slot in NASA’s astronaut corps. Will there be a time when the Space Force will deploy large numbers of boots on the moon? “No idea,” Gen. David D. Thompson, vice chief of space operations of the U.S. Space Force, said Oct. 1. “Certainly not in my career.”

But the Space Force has to prepare for the possibility of more human activity on the moon and colonization of the lunar region which could require a military presence, Thompson said during an online event hosted by DefenseOne. There shouldn’t be any near-term expectations that “we’re preparing to send Space Force units into space in any way other than through the NASA astronaut program,” Thompson said.

Thompson echoed remarks made on Tuesday by Maj. Gen. John Shaw, commander of space operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. At the AFWERX “EngageSpace” conference, Shaw said the Space Force one day might send personnel to stand up bases on the moon, although when that might happen is “anybody’s guess” and “a long ways off.” (MORE)

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