The Pentagon's new U.S. Space Command is opening for business. Its mission is to defend American interests in space.
Thursday marks the official establishment of Space Command, an organization to conduct space operations such as enabling satellite-based communications for troops and commanders in the field.
"To ensure the protection of American interests in space, we must apply the necessary focus, energy, resources to the task and that is exactly what Space Command will do," said Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
Space command will oversee satellite operations and missile warning systems.
It's different from Space Force, which would be a new branch of the military, in the way the Army and Marine Corps are distinct services.
The people in Space Force would be assigned to missions directed by Space Command, just as members of the Army and other services are assigned to an organization such as U.S. Strategic Command.
When Congress returns from August recess, it'll begin reconciling House and Senate versions of bills creating a Space Force.
In June, the Senate confirmed General John Raymond as the Commander of Space Command, which is temporarily housed at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc is among the locations in the running as a permanent home for Space Command.