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Space Force is sending one of its 'Guardians' into space for the first time in its history

U.S. Space Force Col. Nick Hague.
US Space Force Col. Nick Hague will pilot a space mission.Josh Valcarcel/NASA Johnson Space Center
  • The US Space Force is sending its first Guardian into space as early as August.

  • Two NASA astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut will accompany Col. Nick Hague.

  • It's the first time in Space Force's four-year history that it will send a Guardian to space.

The US Space Force is sending its first member — which it calls "Guardians" — into space.

USSF Col. Nick Hague is set to pilot a NASA mission to the International Space Station as early as August, Space Force announced.

Two NASA astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut will join the Crew-9 mission aboard the Dragon, a Space X spacecraft. Upon arrival at the ISS, Hague will pivot to serving as a flight engineer. The crew "will conduct a wide-ranging set of operations and research activities for the duration of their more than six-month mission," a USSF press release said.

"The core of our mission on the space station is to perform science experiments and collect data," Hague said, according to the press release. "The International Space Station provides a unique platform in microgravity, which allows researchers from around the world to explore and discover processes that could have significant impact on the behavior of our bodies and the environment around us both on Earth and off planet."

The US Space Force is only four years old — the baby among long-standing US military branches like the US Army, US Marine Corps, US Navy, US Air Force, US Coast Guard, and US National Guard. When it was established in December 2019, Space Force became the first branch addition to the nation's armed forces in over 70 years.

This will be Hague's first launch as a USSF Guardian but his third launch in total. He transferred from the Air Force to the Space Force in 2021, according to his NASA profile.

"From GPS satellites that underpin our station navigation systems, to space domain awareness sites around the globe that help NASA prevent orbital debris from colliding with the space station, to the launch range that my crew will use when we liftoff," Hague said in the USSF press release, "Guardians provide critical support without which our NASA human spaceflight program wouldn't be possible."

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