New year, new military branch, same old uniform.
The United States Space Force on Friday unveiled the name tapes for its utility uniforms, showcasing the blue embroidered name on a camouflage uniform — much to the internet’s delight and confusion.
“The first #SpaceForce utility uniform nametapes have touched down in the Pentagon,” the Space Force said on Twitter.
In the image shared by the Space Force, blue thread was used for the name tape that is worn above the left breast pocket. The Army uses black and the Air Force uses “spice brown,” an Air Force official said on Saturday. A logo, a seal and an emblem for the Space Force remain under development.
The Space Force announcement quickly drew questions as social media users homed in on the camouflage uniform to which the name tape was attached. The photo inspired “Star Wars” jokes, and some mused about future battles on the Forest Moon of Endor.
Even Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the “Star Wars” franchise, weighed in.
Others were perplexed, questioning the logic of wearing camouflage in space and why the uniform seemed to not-so-boldly go where other designs had gone before.
“Unclear on why there’s a need for camouflage … in space … ” George Takei, who played Hikaru Sulu on “Star Trek,” wrote on Twitter.
The Space Force defended the uniform on Twitter, saying the newest branch of the armed forces, which was established last month, was “utilizing current Army/Air Force uniforms, saving costs of designing/producing a new one.”
Camouflage, it said, would not be needed in space.
“Space Operators are on the ground, on Earth working with joint partners like the @usairforce and @USArmy,” it said. “Hence utilizing their uniform.”
Laurie Leshin, the president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts and a former senior executive at NASA, said in an email that “it’s easy to see why folks on Twitter would find the initial Space Force uniform amusing.” She added, “Who doesn’t love a good Moon of Endor joke?”
But, she said, the announcement was a reminder “that most space professionals work on the ground.”
“The fact is, the vast majority of the women and men serving in the Space Force will be doing their important work right here on Earth, just like other members of the military,” Leshin said. “The same is true for people at NASA.”
“I’m sure that, should the day come that members of the Space Force fly in space, they will do so in specially designed flight suits, just as our NASA astronauts do,” she added.
President Donald Trump called for the creation of the Space Force in 2018.
It describes itself as “a military service that organizes, trains, and equips space forces in order to protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint force.”
On its website, it said that space had become “essential to our security and prosperity — so much so that we need a branch of our military dedicated to its defense, just like we have branches of the military dedicated to protecting and securing the air, land, and sea.”