The Space Force is a real thing now, and it's in line to get some serious money.
The White House's 2021 federal budget request, which was released today (Feb. 10), allocates $15.4 billion to the U.S. Space Force, the new military branch that President Donald Trump proposed several years ago and officially established this past December.
That money will be put to a variety of uses. For example, $1.6 billion is earmarked for three national-security launches, $1.8 billion will go toward Global Positioning System projects and $2.5 billion will support "space-based overhead persistent infrared systems," Department of Defense (DOD) officials wrote in a press release today.
The total DOD allocation in the request is $705.4 billion.
"This budget focuses on NDS [national defense strategy] priorities of nuclear deterrence recapitalization and homeland missile defense, while refining our focus on the cyber and space warfighting domains and joint enablers for all operations in all domains: Air, land, sea, space and cyber," DOD officials wrote in the press release, which gives a detailed breakdown of the proposed defense spending.
"It advances the development of critical technologies including hypersonics, microelectronics/5G and artificial intelligence," the officials added.
The total DOD funding for the space domain in the 2021 budget request is $18.0 billion. The lion's share of that is going to the Space Force, of course, but $337 million is allocated for another recently created entity, the Space Development Agency. An additional $249 million is headed to U.S. Space Command, which has been around since the mid-1980s.
The 2021 budget request gives the Space Force about 60% as much as NASA, which is in line to receive $25.2 billion — an increase of 12% over the space agency's current-year funding.
But the 2021 numbers are all preliminary, because White House budget requests are just that — requests. Congress has the power of the purse in Washington, so final budgets must be passed by the legislative body.
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Mike Wall's book about the search for alien life, "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), is out now. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.