NASA astronaut and commander of NASA’s SpaceX Crew mission Michael Hopkins is transferring from the U.S. Air Force to the U.S. Space Force and will be commissioned from the International Space Station.
The SpaceX Crew-1 mission, commanded by Colonel Michael “Hopper” Hopkins, is expected to take off on November 14 from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency mission specialist Soichi Noguchi, will make up the four-person crew, SpaceNews reported.
“If all goes well, we’re looking to swear him into the Space Force from the International Space Station,” said Chief of Space Operations, U.S. Space Force Gen. John “Jay” Raymond.
Hopkins, who was chosen to be an astronaut by NASA in 2009, is joining thousands of other airmen who have elected to transfer to Space Force.
Space Force and NASA are working together to plan a transfer ceremony that will take place after Hopkins is on board the International Space Station, spokesperson for the chief of space operations Colonel Catie Hague reportedly told SpaceNews.
Hague said the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marines have sent men and women to fill the ranks of NASA’s astronaut corps for over 60 years. Hopkins will be the first Space Force member to serve in the astronaut corps.
“The U.S. Space Force, as the newest military service, is looking forward to contributing to this legacy,” Hague said.
The goal of the extraterrestrial transfer ceremony is to “spotlight the decades-long partnership between DoD and NASA.” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is working with Raymond on the event’s details.
The newest American military branch has been the target of mockery since its creation, but Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett said the naysayers are changing their tune.
“People hadn’t thought about it, they hadn’t thought how very dependent everyday life is on space, and how vulnerable our space capabilities could be,” Barret said during a live Space Foundation webcast. “We’ve gone, in less than a year, from an idea that was ridiculed to a reality where, remarkably, the right and left in Congress agree it’s essential for us to be defending our capabilities in space.”
The Air Force has seen almost 3,000 members transfer to the Space Force, Raymond said, adding that thousands more are expected to join the ranks in the coming years.
“We have to build on that,” Barrett said. “We have to now be able to build the capability to achieve what people now agree needs to be done.”