WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump unveiled the logo for the U.S. Space Force on Friday, attracting critics who said America’s newest military branch had boldly gone where “Star Trek” went before.
With a central symbol resembling an arrowhead, ringed by an orbiting object and set to a starry backdrop, many people argued the design was pilfered from the famous science fiction franchise.
But a spokesman for the branch hit back, arguing that the “Delta” emblem had been used by U.S. Air Force space organizations as early as 1961, before the first Star Trek show aired. The emblem also closely resembles the “widget” logo adopted by Delta Air Lines in 1959.
“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!” wrote Trump of the branch he championed and which came into being in December 2019.
It drew immediate mockery among social media users.
“Should’ve been consulting with Gene Roddenberry’s lawyers,” said the popular Pourmecoffee account, referring to the late screenwriter and producer of Star Trek’s original series and its first spin-off, “The Next Generation.”
The logo bears an uncanny resemblance to the insignia of Starfleet — the peacekeeping and exploration force of the United Federation of Planets alliance, which is headquartered on Earth and whose adversaries include the Klingons and the Romulans.
It has appeared as a pin on the uniforms of Star Trek crews and the iconic characters Captain Kirk and Spock since the original series debuted in 1966, and continues to feature in the franchise’s current shows and movies.
Star Trek has indeed a long history of influencing real world innovations from tablet computers to needle-free medicine injectors and real-time translators.
A U.S. Space Force spokesperson, however, said the critics were being highly illogical.
“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 spokesperson said.
Still, even some old hands from Starfleet had to weigh in, including Japanese-American actor George Takei, who played Hikaru Sulu in the films and TV series.
“There is nothing sacred any more,” Takei tweeted.