The rollout of the new logo of the United States Air Force began innocently enough. President Trump tweeted an image with the following text:
“After consultation with our Great Military Leaders, designers, and others, I am pleased to present the new logo for the United States Space Force, the Sixth Branch of our Magnificent Military!”
It did not take long for keen-eyed observers on social media to take note that the Space Force logo had a more than passing resemblance to the logo of another, albeit fictional organization. Star Fleet Command, the military and exploration arm of the United Federation of Planets of Star Trek fame.
The reaction, as just about everything in America these days, was split into two, depending on how one feels about Donald J. Trump, president of the United States. Trump haters loudly condemned the “sacrilege” of the evil, orange-haired alien cribbing something from Trek. Clearly, the estate of the late Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, and Paramount Pictures needs to sue for copyright infringement.
The other reaction, as Hot Air notes, was decidedly different. “If this is Trump’s way of announcing that he’s planning to turn Space Force into “Star Trek” then he’s going to win 45 states next year. Outside shot at all 50. At a minimum, it’s an ingenious way to recruit. Every nerd in the country is staring at this tweet this afternoon thinking, “It’s happening.””
The comparisons between the Space Force and Star Fleet are not new. Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, tweeted when the Space Force was officially established, “Star Fleet begins.”
George Takei, the actor who played Mr. Sulu in the original series, was less than pleased with the resemblance. Takei has spent much of the past few years railing about Republicans and conservatives in general and Trump in particular. The idea that Trump would copy from Star Trek was a bitter gall and wormwood to the aging actor.
Takei’s thesis is that Roddenberry’s vision was of a hopeful future, of humankind spreading across the galaxy in peaceful exploration. Trump, according to the man best known for playing the Asian helmsman on the USS Enterprise, is the exact opposite, more in line with the “Mirror Universe” in which humanity spreads terror and death throughout the stars.
More than one observer has noted that Takei’s evaluation is a bit overwrought. No evidence exists that the Space Force is designed as an instrument of imperial aggrandizement. The new branch of the military’s mission is to protect America’s space assets against enemy attack, more in line with the peacekeeping mission that Star Fleet was depicted as following.
One could argue that President Trump greatly resembles Captain James T. Kirk, commanding officer of the starship Enterprise. Both men are brash, willing to take risks, think outside the box, and are impatient with rules and regulations (especially the Prime Directive.) Both men have a reputation with the ladies.
It should be noted that Takei has had a long-running feud with William Shatner, the Canadian born actor who played Kirk.
So, did Trump or someone in the White House or the Defense Department use a motif from Star Trek for the Space Force logo? According to Space News, the Space Force denies any association.
“In response to critics calling it a Star Trek ripoff, the spokesman said that the U.S. Space Force seal “honors the Department of the Air Force’s proud history” in providing space capabilities. The delta symbol, the central design element in the seal, was first used as early as 1942 by the U.S. Army Air Forces and was used in early Air Force space organization emblems dating back to 1961, the spokesman said. “Since then, the delta symbol has been a prominent feature in military space community emblems.””
The article notes that the original Star Trek first premiered in 1966, which suggests that if a ripoff exists, it was on the part of Gene Roddenberry.
Case closed then. Hot Air is pleased to disagree.
“Clearly the Space Force logo drew inspiration from the Air Force logo but you’ll never convince me that Starfleet Command didn’t influence it too. The circular format, the text layout, the pinpoint stars in the background, and of course that distinctive orbital swoosh around the main cursor/spaceship. It’s all there, buddy. There’s a Trekkie in the Pentagon’s design department. No other plausible explanation.”