NASA’s astronaut program is the quickest way to space for military personnel.
There will be no boots on the moon by 2024.
Just days after a U.S. Space Force general said members of the military’s newest branch would one day deploy into orbit, another top general said those days are still far, far away.
“The best and most direct route for any member of the United States Space Force to go personally and physically into space today…remains what it has been for decades,” Lt. Gen. David Thompson, the Space Force vice commander.
That would be an application to NASA’s astronaut program.
“When do we expect to have boots on the moon? No idea. Certainly not in my career,” Thompson said. “[I]s it possible and certainly expected some day in the future that members of the United States Space Force will go physically, directly and personally into space, I would say absolutely.”
“We’re not talking five or 10 years,” Thompson said. “We’re talking decades from now, almost certainly.”
Until then, Space Force members can expect terrestrial deployments, just like the rest of the military. Personnel from the newest service branch are currently deployed in a familiar location: the Middle East.
Earlier this week, Maj. Gen. John Shaw, head of the Combined Force Space Component Command at U.S. Space Command, raised the possibility of Space Force personnel: ”operating command centers somewhere in the lunar environment or someplace else" in the decade to come.
Getting “boots on the moon” by 2024 is the top priority of Gen. Mark Naird, the chief of space operations in the Netflix comedy “Space Force.”