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A space force is a military branch that conducts space warfare. As of 2019 no country has an independent space force, with the Russian Space Forces having lost their independent status in 2011.


In 1992 the Russian Space Forces were established as a separate service branch within the Russian Armed Forces, becoming the first independent space force in the world. In 1997 it was merged into the Strategic Missile Forces, however this decision put military space at an extreme disadvantage, and in 2001 it was reestablished as an independent military branch.[1][2] In 2011 it became the core of the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces, which merged Russia's space and air defense forces into one service.[3] In 2015 the Russian Air Force and Russian Aerospace Defense Forces were merged together to form the Russian Aerospace Forces, which reestablished the Russian Space Forces as one of its three sub-branches, although it is not an independent service.[4]

In 2015 China established the People's Liberation Army Strategic Support Force as an independent service branch of the People's Liberation Army, responsible for space, cyber, and electronic warfare. Prior to the SSF's establishment of cyber, space, and electronic warfare responsibilities were split across four different departments.[5]

Military space development within the United States started with the Army Air Forces in 1945 and most of its space forces were organized within the United States Air Force, which became the executive agent for space in 1962. In 1982 the Air Force created Air Force Space Command, which merged all of its space forces into one command. The United States Army and United States Navy both possess significantly smaller numbers of space assets, centralized in the Army Space and Missile Defense Command and the Navy Tenth Fleet.[6] On June 18, 2018, the United States announced a proposal to create the United States Space Force as a new branch of the United States Armed Forces. The new service would consolidate the separate space forces of the existing services,[7] and on August 9, 2018, further announced a plan to have the new service established by 2020.[8] Operational command of space operations is centralized within United States Space Command, which previously existed from 1985 to 2002, and was reestablished in 2019.[9]

List of space forcesEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Russian Public TV (ORT), Moscow, in Russian 1700 gmt March 28, 2001, via BBC Summary of World Broadcasts
  2. ^ "Russian Space Forces (VKS)".
  3. ^ "Sputnik International - Breaking News & Analysis - Radio, Photos, Videos, Infographics".
  4. ^ Bodner, Matthew (22 June 2018). "As Trump pushes for separate space force, Russia moves fast the other way".
  5. ^
  6. ^ "A History of US National Security Space Management and Organization".
  7. ^ "Space Force and Air Force will be 'separate but equal' branches". Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  8. ^ "Pence Unveils Plan For Congress To Create Space Force By 2020". Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  9. ^ "Department of Defense Establishes U.S. Space Command". U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Government of Canada, National Defence (April 10, 2018). "News Article | RCAF tracks Chinese space station".
  13. ^ RAF Air Command To Take On UK Military Space Ops Retrieved May 21, 2018
  14. ^ "Key Battle of Britain Fighter Command group to be reformed". Press Association. 11 July 2018. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  15. ^ Chapter 23: Joint Operations". Operational Law Handbook. U.S. Department of Defense. 2015.