WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - President Donald Trump has ordered a sixth branch of the military be established, called the Space Force. News 18 talked to an assistant professor at Purdue University to learn about some of the potential advantages and disadvantages.
"I'm hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces," said President Trump on Monday.
That's an effort to create American dominance in space. News 18 spoke to Carolin Frueh, and assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Purdue. She said she was somewhat surprised by the announcement.
"It's not like we are building something new that wasn't there or there would be capabilities that we currently don't have, so I was surprised that one would want to take that outside of the Air Force and create as a separate branch," said Frueh.
So what are some advantages to adding the new branch?
"I think creating that as a new branch that means there is a significant effort in restructuring, refurbishing, renewing the structure that is there. It could be a big chance," said Frueh.
Frueh said a disadvantage would be losing integration.
"Now we have autonomous vehicles on both sides that's not long purely space domain. We're looking into sub-orbital flights that are relatively low, where we are kind of touching air. So, we would lose that integration in the armed forces."
Frueh said it's still early but the new branch could have an impact on faculty and students at Purdue, some of whom already work with the Air Force.
"There is a lot of interaction going on the space side of the Air Force, so I'm not sure how that would change with the new branch, but I would hope that it would be ongoing," said Frueh.
President Trump's order also addressed traffic management and debris in space.