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'Guardians wanted!' US Space Force unveils new recruitment video

The U.S. Space Force is seeking more recruits to address some of the forthcoming military challenges of spaceflight.

A new recruitment video on YouTube notes that "space is hard" while citing growing challenges, such as foreign actors potentially moving into cislunar space and a growing presence of international companies operating satellites in near-Earth orbit.

"It's time for another giant leap," the recruitment video says in part, citing an off-quoted line that civilian NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong delivered after stepping onto the surface of the moon for the first time in 1969.

"The United States Space Force is being built from the brightest minds across the space operations of the Air Force, our joint services, and the private sector," the video continues. "We aren't just getting ready for our near future; we're getting ready for the 22nd century."

The space-focused military branch, the newest one in the U.S. armed forces, is now focusing on cislunar space as a forthcoming target in the wake of civilian activity in that region, especially NASA's Artemis program that seeks to put people on the moon by 2024.

Related: Is Earth-moon space the US military's new high ground?

And in an address Tuesday (Aug. 24) at the 36th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall said threats in space are growing both in number and sophistication.

"China has moved aggressively to weaponize space, something that was recognized in the Obama administration, and that led to a change in the United States' military strategy several years ago," he said, in a statement. (Russia, an International Space Station partner, was also cited as a potential threat.)

"Both conventional deterrence and conventional operations depend on access to communications, intelligence, and other services provided by space-based systems," he continued. "As a result, our strategic competitors have pursued and fielded a number of weapons systems in space designed to defeat or destroy America’s space-based military weapons systems and our ability to project power."

Threats that Space Force are tracking include jammers, laser systems that could damage satellites from the ground, robotic arms that could (in future) be used to grab other satellites from their orbits, and ground-based missiles, he added. 

The new video comes as Kendall said there are so many applicants trying to join Space Force that the force can be "very selective" and is "handpicking only the top applicants." For example, when 650 transfer spots were made available for active-duty personnel in other branches, 4,000 people applied.

“People are excited about what we’re building in the Space Force, and they want in,” he said.

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Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell is a contributing writer for Space.com who is one of the few Canadian journalists to report regularly on space exploration. She is the author or co-author of several books on space exploration. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota in Space Studies, and an M.Sc. from the same department. She also holds a bachelor of journalism degree from Carleton University in Canada, where she began her space-writing career in 2004. Besides writing, Elizabeth teaches communications at the university and community college level, and for government training schools. To see her latest projects, follow Elizabeth on Twitter at @howellspace.