Trump signing directive to clean up space junk

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Orbital ATKs Cygnus spacecraft onboard is seen shortly after Launch Complex 41 Vertical Integration Facility at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral on Dec. 2 2015

Trump was joined by Vice-President Mike Pence, who leads the recently revived space council, as well as several Cabinet members, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, retired astronauts and scientists.

President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the Pentagon to create a new US "Space Force", which would become the sixth branch of the American military but which requires Congressional approval to take effect. The Air Force now has a Space Command division that oversees space-based military operations.

"We must have American dominance in space", Trump said.

Trump has mentioned the formation of a Space Force before, saying in March "space is a warfighting domain just like the land, air and sea".

The president talked up the idea earlier this spring at a White House ceremony during which he presented the Commander in Chief's Trophy to the West Point Black Knights football team for defeating Navy in their annual face-off last December.

The directive calls for providing a safe and secure environment up in orbit, as satellite traffic increases.

The White House past year also opposed the space corps plan and said creating it was "premature at this time".

"The United States will not be a migrant holding facility", Trump said. He framed the undertaking as a national security issue, saying he does not want "China and Russian Federation and other countries leading us". It is created to avoid collisions and spacecraft breakups.

Scott Pace, the executive secretary of the National Space Council, offered more details in an email about the directive and how it would be budgeted.

Trump said the United States will "be the leader by far" in space and looks to revive the nation's flagging space program. "What we hope to do is have a more user-friendly approach...we hope to see people get more rapid information on when they can launch, more flexibility on their launch windows going up, [and to] see satellites having to maneuver less often because of potential collision risk".

Trump added: "If the Democrats would sit down and stop obstructing, we could have something quickly".

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