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Mike Hopkins aboard the International Space Station. Photo: NASA

NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins was sworn in as the newest member of the U.S. Space Force Friday from his post onboard the International Space Station.

Why it matters: Hopkins is the first NASA astronaut to serve in the Space Force.

  • "Today, you will be the first... Space Force astronaut, that will be living space," General John Raymond, the Space Force's Chief of Space Operations said to Hopkins during the swearing in.

The big picture: NASA and the U.S. military have had a close relationship since the earliest days of the space agency.

  • Some of the first astronauts were test pilots from the military, and today, the majority of astronauts that have served NASA were military service members.
  • "The very first astronaut was Alan Shepard from the Navy and the first airman in space was Gus Grissom. The first marine in space was John Glenn, and the first army officer... in space astronaut was Robert Stewart," Raymond said.

Between the lines: When the announcement of Hopkins' swearing in was made earlier this year, some space watchers questioned whether it would muddy the waters with the public's understanding of what the Space Force does.

  • The point of the Space Force is not necessarily to send people to space but to protect essential hardware — like spy and GPS satellites — from potential bad actors.
  • "The skill sets that you need to be an astronaut is totally different than the skill set you need to be a space operator in the Space Force," Todd Harrison, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Axios in November.
  • Hopkins' swearing in aboard the space station also raised eyebrows. The space station is considered a tool of diplomacy and peace, not warfighting, and some experts are concerned the transfer aboard the station may send mixed signals to international partners.

Go deeper: The Space Force heads to space

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Podcasts

When investing goes viral

You've likely heard the headlines this week about the stock market mania around GameStop. But this isn't just about the stock market. It's a kind of populist uprising borne of the Internet.

  • Plus, what’s behind GM’s big electric vehicle announcement.
  • And, the new Wild West is in outer space.
Felix Salmon, author of Capital
27 mins ago - Economy & Business

Investors pour millions into immersive, interactive art experiences

Photo Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP via Getty Images

How much would you pay for "a sleek, if pleasantly confusing, package of moods" or "a confusing tangle of disjointed installations" or even "the total erosion of meaning itself"? The answer, according to the current market-clearing price, seems to be about $35.

Why it matters: Investors are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into ticketed experiences — immersive, interactive museum-like spaces that don't have the d0-not-touch stuffiness of traditional museums.

Special Envoy for Haiti resigns over Biden deportations

Daniel Foote testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on May 26, 2016. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Special Envoy for Haiti on Wednesday resigned from his position, writing in his resignation letter obtained by PBS that he "will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees."

Why it matters: Ambassador Daniel Foote's resignation comes amid heightened anger over the treatment of Haitian migrants and asylum-seekers living in a temporary encampment in Del Rio, Texas — especially after images surfaced of Border Patrol agents whipping at the migrants from horseback.