The title was mostly laughed at and mocked, but the concept of a Space Force has merit, per the sons of the most famous astronaut in the history of the United States.
Mark and Eric Armstrong are on a press tour to hype the new Ryan Gosling movie, “First Man,” which is about their father, the late Neil Armstrong, and the mission to become the first man to land on the moon.
The brothers were in Dallas on Wednesday morning; the movie opens Friday.
When asked what their father, who notoriously was apolitical and seldom sought any media attention, would have thought of President Donald Trump’s ambition to build a Space Force, both men defended, and explained, the intention.
“(My father) would definitely be looking at the details of what this means. That if we are going to have a Space Force what is it doing?” Eric Armstrong said. “Because Trump just sort of put it out there and, it really was a very shallow understanding of what that meant, and people ran with it. But (Neil Armstrong) was always about the details about what stuff is.”
In June, Trump announced plans for a new, sixth arm of the military called, Space Force. The announcement came shortly after the National Space Council met, primarily to discuss space traffic management.
Mark Armstrong took the concept considerably further than some shallow-sounding name that has been easily sold, marketed and mocked.
“My understanding is that there was a point in history at which we decided that air power was important to us and that the type of work that people would do to control the air space was very different than the type of work they would do to control the ground space,” Mark Armstrong said. “The technology was different. The knowledge base was different. I think that is what we are seeing here with the Space Force.
“We are saying, ‘Look, if we want to secure our economy, for example. If we want to secure things, the people that manage our Air Force, they don’t have the knowledge and the discipline to manage the lower orbit.’ It’s a different discipline and it requires a different knowledge base.
“But because our economy requires low-earth orbit, like all of our cellphones require GPS. We’ve got technologies that require GPS satellites that need to be protected. If GPS goes down, nationwide, no point of sale system works. Uber shuts down. Lots of things shut down.
“This is legitimate. There are legitimate technologies that we rely on, that our economy relies on, that our way of life relies on, that we need to protect.
“The people that fly airplanes and secure our borders may not have the right knowledge to be able to solve those problems, so let’s make sure we get the right people doing that. I encourage you to look at it because it’s an interesting problem.”