SpaceX is set to put a new string of Starlink satellites into orbit today in a launch planned to happen at Cape Canaveral. If the launch goes off, it will be the first launch of 2020 and will be the 45th Space Wing’s inaugural launch as part of the U.S. Space Force. The 45th Space Wing is one of five Air Force space wings that have been assigned to the U.S. Space Force effective December 20, 2019.
President Trump created the U.S. Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces. Brig. Gen. Doug Schiess said in a statement on January 3 that he was excited to be part of the U.S. Space Force and that the 45th Space wing will continue to do what it has been doing. The structure of the Space Force and how it will be staged will take at least 18 months to sort out.
The branch will be composed of uniformed and civilian personnel who will work under the Air Force Space Command. Staff from the Air Force Space Command have been assigned to the Space Force but will remain airmen in the U.S. Air Force. Over the next year, the Air Force plans to figure out a process to allow service members to leave the Air Force and officially transfer into the Space Force.
There are about 16,000 Air Force personnel that support the five space wings and are now part of the new branch. It’s unclear at this time how the formation of the new branch will impact Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base. The acting head of the Space Force is Air Force Gen. John Raymond. The details for the new branch outstanding include everything from the work that will continue to the uniform the service members will wear.