The Similarities Between The U.S. Space Force and ‘Star Trek’

Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman (R), Space Force and Command Senior Enlisted Leader and CMSgt Roger Towberman (L), with Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett present US President Donald Trump with the official flag of the United States Space Force in the Oval Office of the White House

Samuel Corum/Getty Images Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman (R), Space Force and Command Senior Enlisted Leader and CMSgt Roger Towberman (L), with Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett present US President Donald Trump with the official flag of the United States Space Force in the Oval Office of the White House

The United States Space Force (USSF) was established by former President Donald J. Trump in December of 2019. According to its website, “the USSF is 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.” The responsibilities of this space-centered branch of the military include “developing Guardians, acquiring military space systems, maturing the military doctrine for space power, and organizing space forces.”

Since Trump announced his intention to create Space Force, the newest branch of the military has been the subject of derision. As Wired pointed out in a feature about the establishment of the USSF, “The only headlines Space Force has made so far have come amid jokes, memes, and controversies.” The military branch even inspired a parody show that launched on Netflix mere months after the USSF’s creation.

Many of the jokes and memes about Space Force are centered on the fact that the military branch seems to be basing much of its aesthetic on “Star Trek.” These are all the ways that Space Force has copied Trek… so far.


The Logo

In January 2020, the Trump administration revealed the official logo for the Space Force, and the Internet collectively lost their minds. The logo was shockingly similar to the Starfleet Command logo. Both feature Delta symbols encompassed in stars and the line of a planetary orbit, surrounded by a circular border. Both logos display the name of the organization within the circular border. Even the color scheme is similar.

“Star Trek” actors were quick to point out the similarities as well. George Takei, who played Lieutenant Sulu in “Star Trek: The Original Series,” joked that Trek stars would be “expecting some royalties” for the use of the Starfleet logo.

However, his criticisms got more serious a day later. Takei penned an essay about how Space Force’s mission was in conflict with the ideals of “Star Trek” and included a scathing takedown of Trump’s pet project. The essay was published in The Washington Post on January 25, 2020.

Twitter users relentlessly mocked the logo and called out Trump for “ripping off” Trek.

The criticism prompted the USSF to respond via Twitter, albeit months later. The military branch explained that the Delta has long been a symbol associated with space organizations and that it was used prior to the conception of “Star Trek.” A page on the USSF website explains all the symbology behind the logo.


The Rank Insignias

In September of 2021, the Space Force released the first images of the rank insignias that the military branch will use. Though the similarities between the Space Force insignias and the Starfleet insignias aren’t as obvious as the similarities between the logos, the Trek “vibes” are still strong, as one Twitter user wrote.

The insignias for the Specialists and Master Sargeants bear the most resemblance to the Starfleet insignia. According to Memory Alpha, the Starfleet insignia used in the 2370s and 2380s consisted of the Delta symbol over two connected bars.

The Space Force Specialist insignias feature the Delta symbol over one, two, or three lines, depending on rank, making them quite similar to the late 24th century Starfleet insignias. The Master Sargeant insignias bear less resemblance to any Starfleet insignia. However, the Delta over a series of lines is still reminiscent of the late 24th-century design.

Of course, these points were not lost on Twitter users.


The Uniforms

Just a day later, the Space Force unveiled the proposed design for the branch’s uniforms. Again, the comparisons to “Star Trek” came fast and furious.

Many pointed out that the uniforms were quite similar to the Starfleet uniforms from “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” Another fan wrote that the uniforms looked more like original Starfleet dress uniforms in “Star Trek: Enterprise.”

Fans of science fiction outside the Trekverse remarked that the uniforms are also strikingly similar to the uniforms from “Battlestar Galactica.”

As more information about the newest branch of the military is released, it’s possible that more commonalities will be revealed.

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