A Letter From Space Force Training

Hi Mom. Thanks for the note. I miss you too.


Things have been good here. Hard, but good. They wake us up at 5 am every day to eat vacuum-sealed breakfast and go for a 5-mile run. My commanding officer says there won’t actually be any running in the Space Force, but that lower-body exercise is still twice as important because our legs will shrink into twigs. He’s never been to space either, but I believe him.


The rest of my day typically consists of basic astronaut training. Things like maintaining a spacecraft, exposing myself to G-forces, and shooting a gun into the void. I’m actually pretty good at it. Sometimes when I’m in the launch simulator I picture Mr. Robertson from high school physics. Remember how much he loved space? And how he gave me a D? Well guess who’s going there first. Ha!


Every night ends with more space food in the mess hall. What I wouldn’t do for a plate of your beef stew right now. Or anything that hasn’t been freeze dried, for that matter. The taste is bad, but the silence is worse. There’s this one girl I’ve been trying to talk to, but our communication is limited because the Generals don’t want any relationships to develop in the Space Force. They say break ups out there are twice as dangerous. They too have never been to space, and I’m not sure I believe them on that one.


I guess if there’s one lingering doubt I’ve had since enlisting, it’s over what I’m actually going to do up there. I mean I always wanted to be an astronaut, but I didn’t have a PhD, a decorated military career, or a billion dollars like everyone else in space. Then the Space Force was announced, and I just knew it was my calling. “Give me a mission” I said. “Whatever it is, I’ll do it. For America!” (and—between the two of us—for me), yet so far all we’ve done is train without so much as a mission statement. My bunk mate Jack says that in space, everyone is the enemy, and honestly I’m starting to wonder how so many people who have never been to space know such specific things about life in it. I’m not quitting though. No way! Not until I’ve been there at least once.


Anyways, I’ve got to get going. Lights go out in 30 minutes and these low-gravity shower simulators take at least 15. Send Dad and Sara my best. I miss you all, but the wait will be worth it when I’m waiving to you all from off this pale blue dot.





illustration by Tony Chao