Space Operations Badge

The Space Operations Badge is an occupational badge for airman of the United States Air Force while the United States Army version of the badge, known as the Space Badge, is a special skills badge for soldiers.

Space Operations Badge (U.S. Air Force)
Space Badge (U.S. Army)
Awarded by Department of the Air Force and Department of the Army
TypeOccupational badge (USAF)
Special skills badge (USA)
Awarded forSpace operations
StatusCurrently awarded
First awardedNovember 2005[1]
Last awardedOn going[2][3]
Next (higher)U.S. Army= Aviator badges[2]
EquivalentU.S. Air Force= Aeronautical, cyber, and missile badges[3]
Next (lower)U.S. Army= Astronaut Badge[2]
U.S. Air Force= Occupational badges[3]


Space and Missile Badge

The Air Force Space and Missile Badge (AFSMB) was a military badge of the United States Air Force which was awarded to airmen who completed space operations and missile training. It initially replaced the Missile Badge when the space and missile operations fields were merged. However, the Missile Badge was reinstated in 2009, and the space and missile careers were split in 2013.[3][4][5]

The Air Force Space and Missile Badge was presented in three grades being that of basic, senior, and master. The basic badge was awarded for completion of initial space training while the senior and master badges were awarded based on years of service in Air Force Space assignments; for officer the steps occur at seven and fifteen years respectively. For enlisted personnel the senior badge was awarded upon attaining a "7 skill level" and the master badge as a Master Sergeant or above with five years in the specialty from award of the senior badge. The grades of the Air Force Space and Missile badge were denoted by a star (senior) and wreath (master) centered above the decoration.[3]

The Space and Missile Badge was also awarded to U.S. Army officers who graduated from the functional area 40A (Army Space Operations Officer) course, becoming the first Air Force badge awarded by another service.[6][7][8][9]

Space Operations Badge

In 2004, the commander of U.S. Air Force Space Command, General Lance Lord, USAF, announced the introduction of the new Air Force Space Badge (AFSB), which replaced the Air Force Space and Missile Badge. The new badge was also awarded to U.S. Air Force scientists, engineers, communications, intelligence, and acquisition professionals who had performed space/missile operations, intelligence, and acquisition duties and had successfully completed the Space 100 course.[1][3][10][11]

In 2006, the U.S. Army, with the consent of the Air Force, authorized the awarding of the Air Force Space Badge to Army personnel who meet specific guidelines for training and time in a space billet. On 19 October 2006, SGT Daniel Holscher, a satellite control operations noncommissioned officer with U.S. Army Central Space Support Element, was the first enlisted soldier to earn the Air Force Space Badge.[12]

In February 2011, the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army officially approved the establishment of the Air Force Space Badge as a joint Air Force and Army badge; thus, the words “Air Force” were dropped from the official name of the badge. U.S. Army soldiers can be awarded the Space Badge after attending Air Force or Army space or satellite systems courses and have 12 months (for Active Army) or 24 months (for Army Reserve and Army National Guard) experience in a space billet. This new badge is also awarded to graduates of the FA-40A Army Space Operations Officer course.[7][9][13]

On January 2014, General William L. Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command, ordered the renaming of the Space Badge to the Space Operations Badge and changed the criteria for eligibility. The Space Operations Badge is now restricted to Air Force Specialty Codes 13S and 1C6, but can be earned by non-operations personnel after meeting certain criteria. For airman to now earn the Space Operations Badge, members must have completed three years of operations-focused duties and receive Air Force Space Command vice commander approval. To receive the Senior Space Operations Badge, members must complete seven years of operations-focused duties and get AFSPC vice commander approval. After completion of 15 years of operations-focused duties and AFSPC vice commander approval, airmen are eligible for the Command Space Operations Badge.[14][15]

In 2019 the Space Operations Badge was issued to non-Americans for the first time, when four Royal Canadian Air Force airmen assigned to the Combined Space Operations Center successfully completed U.S. Air Force space training.[16]

The badge is informally referred to as "space wings" due to the resemblance to other aeronautical badges or "wings."[17][18]

See also


  1. New space badge wear begins today, U.S. Air Force, dated 1 November 2005 last accessed 1 January 2018
  2. Army Regulation 600-8-22, Military Awards, U.S. Army, dated 25 June 2015, last accessed 1 January 2018
  3. Air Force Instruction 36-2903: Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force Personnel, Dated 18/7/2011
  4. Officials bring back missile badges, wings, Posted 6/6/2008
  6. FA-40 Space Operations Graduation Ceremony, U.S. Army Space & Missile Defense Command website, accessed 1 Feb 12
  7. SMDC-OPZ-FB, ASPDO Procedural Guide #1 - Procedures for Awarding the Space Badge to Army Space Cadre Personnel Archived 2012-03-20 at the Wayback Machine, dated 15 February 2011
  8. The Army Space Cadre: Space Professionals (FA40) and Space Enablers, U.S. Army, STAND-TO!, dated 28 September 2010, last accessed 1 March 2014
  9. Fact Sheet, ASCO/FA40 PPO, U.S. Army Space Cadre Office, Functional Area 40 Space Operations Personnel Proponent Office, last accessed 1 March 2014
  10. Air Force Instruction 36-3701: Space Professional Development Program, U.S. Air Force, dated 20 May 2010, last accessed 18 June 2014
  11. Officials unveil new space badge, Posted 10/7/2004
  12. Army Sergeant first to receive Air Force Space Badge, Blackanthem Military News, posted 27 Oct 07, accessed 1 Feb 12
  13. Space Badge recognizes warriors of the high ground,, posted 21 Apr 11, accessed 1 Feb 12
  14. Space badge renamed, new guidance issued, U.S. Air Force News, by Master Sgt. Kevin Williams, dated 11 December 2013, last accessed 31 December 2013
  15. Space warriors earn Space Badges,, by Jason B. Cutshaw (USASMDC/ARSTRAT), dated 21 March 2014, last accessed 22 October 2016
  17. New Air Force cyberspace badge guidelines released, comment posted 4/29/2010 3:42:09 AM ET U.S. Air Force Official Website, posted 27 April 2010, accessed 8 April 2012
  18. AF Computer Warriors Get Wings. Seriously.,, posted 29 April 2010, accessed 8 April 2012
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