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First Space Force Guardian will launch into space this summer

The U.S. Space Force will send its first Guardian into space this summer in a mission with other astronauts, NASA announced Wednesday.

Space Force Col. Tyler “Nick” Hague will join three other astronauts on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-9 mission no earlier than August, headed for the International Space Station (ISS).

The team will replace the current Crew-8 at the ISS.

Hague will be the first Guardian to be launched into space, though now-retired U.S. Space Force Col. Mike Hopkins was awarded the recognition of first Guardian in space in 2020 after he transferred from the Air Force to the Space Force.

Hague’s coming flight was first reported by Defense One. Jerry Porter, chief of public affairs at Space Launch Delta 45, announced the first Guardian was heading into space at a conference event Tuesday, according to the outlet.

Hague was selected as an astronaut in 2013 and went on his first trip to the ISS in 2018. He served in the Space Force as director of testing and evaluations from 2020 to 2022 before he returned to NASA.

Former President Trump created the Space Force in 2019, but the nation’s newest military branch has yet to deploy personnel in space. Space Force officials have said the day when Guardians are actually in space could be a long way off.

Other astronauts on the flight this summer include Zena Cardman and mission specialist Stephanie Wilson. Russian Roscosmos cosmonaut mission specialist Aleksandr Gorbunov will also join the flight.

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