The Latest: Trump signs order to create US Space Command

The Latest: Trump signs order to create US Space Command
FILE - In this Dec. 3, 2018, file photo, In this photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Spaceflight SSO-A: SmallSat Express, launches from Space Launch Complex-4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order soon, possibly as early as Tuesday, Dec. 18, creating a U.S. Space Command that will better organize and advance the military's vast operations in space, U.S. officials say. (Senior Airman Clayton Wear/U.S. Air Force via AP, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Pentagon’s new Space Command (all times local):

10:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump has launched the Pentagon’s new Space Command. It’s an effort to better organize and advance the military’s vast operations in space that could cost as much as million over the next five years.

Trump signed the one-page memorandum Tuesday authorizing the Department of Defense to create the new command.

The goal is to set up a command to oversee and organize space operations, accelerate technical advances and find more effective ways to defend U.S. assets in space, including the vast constellations of satellites that American forces rely on for navigation, communications and surveillance.

The move comes amid growing concerns that China and Russia are working on ways to disrupt, disable or even destroy U.S. satellites.

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12:30 a.m.

U.S. officials say President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order soon creating a U.S. Space Command that will better organize and advance the military’s vast operations in space.

Two U.S. officials say that Vice President Mike Pence will make the announcement Tuesday at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.

Trump’s order is separate from his oft-stated goal of creating a “Space Force” as an independent armed service branch, but it’s considered a step in that direction. The move will require the Defense Department to pull together various space units and agencies from across the military services into a more coordinated, independent organization.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they aren’t authorized to discuss the plans by name.