CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday revealed Brevard County’s two Air Force bases have officially been renamed to be part of the U.S. Space Force branch.
Pence landed at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station ahead of the National Space Council meeting at Kennedy Space Center, revealing the new names and a sign during a dedication ceremony.
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the home of the 45th Weather Squadron, was renamed to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base is now Patrick Space Force Base.
After a brief dedication ceremony, Pence moved on to Kennedy Space Center to chair his final Space Council Meeting. The vice president opened with remarks about President Donald Trump’s space policies, heavily focused on defense.
The 45th Space Wing, which includes Patrick and the Space Force Station, oversees the Eastern range and was re-assigned to the U.S. Space Force.
Pence said Trump was inspired to establish Space Force due to growing international competition from China and Russia.
China recently planted its flag on the moon after landing an unpiloted robotic mission there to collect a lunar sample. While NASA does not partner with the communist nation, by an act of Congress, the U.S. relied on Russia for nearly nine years to transport American astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
“China is increasingly emerging as a serious competitor in space, just as they are in other areas of the global economy and to the strategic interests of the United States,” Pence said, adding, “All of that competition, the investment of other nations on earth, and security in space is among the reasons why our commander in chief took the unprecedented step of establishing the first branch, new branch of our armed forces in some 70 years.”
Trump established the U.S. Space Force, the branch under the U.S. Air Force and re-established U.S. Space Command to oversee national security missions in space, many of which already launch from Florida’s Space Coast.
Pence also revealed Trump plans to rename a U.S. military base for the late Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles “Chuck” Yeager. Yeager, a World War II fighter pilot, became the first person to fly faster than sound in 1947.