COLORADO SPRINGS — Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond unveiled a Space Force recruiting ad Aug. 24 that aims to help fill the ranks of the newest U.S. military branch with technically skilled guardians.

The theme of the ad, “space is hard,” highlights the complexity of space operations and systems, as well as the security threats to U.S. satellites such as cyber and jamming attacks, and orbital debris.  

“Our entire way of life depends on space and our ability to protect our assets,” Raymond said during his keynote address at the 36th Space Symposium. Attracting technically skilled recruits, he said, will help ensure the Space Force can protect U.S. and allied orbital assets.

“Our adversaries have been busy over the last several years,” he said. “China and Russia have continued to build an entire spectrum of satellites for their own use and to threaten others.”

He said China and Russia are deploying electronic jammers and ground based laser systems capable of blinding or damaging satellites. China has a satellite on orbit with a robotic arm that could be used to grab other satellites. Both have ground-based missiles capable of destroying satellites on orbit. And Russia also has a “nesting doll” satellite that opens up to release a smaller satellite that releases a projectile.

Raymond noted  that this year’s Space Symposium is the first since the Space Force was established in December 2019. He said it’s important for the Space Force to build ties with global allies, and with civil space and commercial space companies.  

“Space is hard, but it’s almost impossible without the partners that are represented here today,” he told the audience. “What an exciting time to be in the space business with all sectors of space making huge, huge advances.”

Since the last Space Symposium in March 2019, the space landscape has changed so much “you wouldn’t even recognize it,” he said. “Not only is our nation launching astronauts from U.S. soil again, we’ve seen two commercial companies send tourists to space as well, with a commercial orbital mission planned for next month. The U.S. and China each landed a probe on Mars. NASA is even flying helicopters on Mars.”

Raymond noted that private investment in the commercial space sector “continues to rocket upwards, driving a second golden age of space. If you think back to the last time we met at Space Symposium, there were about 2,100 active satellites on orbit. Today there’s over 4,900 That’s astounding. While we’ve all been wearing masks, the number of active satellites has doubled.”

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...