US Air Force's new initiative trains operators for space battles

U.S. Air Force Space Command has announced its new Space Mission Force initiative, a plan that will train satellite operators to respond to various threats and to control satellites in threatening environments. The Space Mission Force is more than a year into planning, and it comes from the Space Command's head Gen. John Hyten. In the event space becomes a "contested environment," this new USAF program will make sure a greater number of satellite operators are able to engage in so-called space battles.

The world is a much different place than it was a mere two decades ago, and the needs of various military branches have changed a great deal as a result. While in the past the U.S. Air Force was satisfied with having a small band of operators who could manage our satellites in hostile situations, that's no longer the case, and its new mission will ensure a larger number of individuals are prepared to take control if necessary.

Said Hyten in a white paper published last week:

The training and skills that sustained our space operations for the last several decades are not the same skills we need to fight through threats and win in today's contested, degraded and operationally-limited environment.

With the new initiative, the U.S. Air Force has become as much about space operations as it has air operations — something that is absolutely necessary as the nation furthers its push into space and, soon enough, plans to send astronauts on longer-term missions to far away planets. Under the initiative, satellite operators will get between four and six months of training, then another half-year of practical and hands-on training.

SOURCE: Space News