Feb 9, 2021 - Science

The Space Force's PR problem

Illustration of a sewn military badge fashioned as a satellite.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Gen. John Raymond — the head of space operations for the Space Force — said last week that the newest branch of the military is still searching for its footing when communicating its work to the public.

Why it matters: The Space Force — established by the Trump administration — has often been the butt of jokes, including a Netflix satire of the same name, but many in the space industry recognize its utility as the U.S. increasingly relies on space.

  • The public, however, has a harder time finding that utility, according to Raymond.
  • "Space doesn't have a mother," Raymond said during a roundtable Wednesday. "You can't reach out and hug a satellite. You can't see it. You can't touch it. It's hard to have that connection."

Between the lines: Raymond also added that the Space Force's job has been made harder by the classification of materials that make it hard to speak publicly about the threats posed by other actors in orbit.

  • "I really believe we're communicating very well in a number of areas," Raymond said. "I think there's still a challenge that it's hard to understand that connection to space, and we'll keep working at it."

The big picture: Even if the public isn't sure about the Space Force, the Biden administration has said it's here to stay.

  • Last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the new military branch has the administration's "full support."
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