Sights and sounds from the 36th Space Symposium, the world's largest space show, held at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. (Video by Skyler Ballard)

Space Force has the luxury of picking only top talent as it continues to grow, 20 months after being established.

Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, top commander of the first new military service since 1947, highlighted some top guardians while speaking to a masked audience during the 36th annual Space Symposium on Tuesday at The Broadmoor hotel.

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Second Lt. Aryemis Brown, a 2021 Air Force Academy graduate who commissioned directly into the Space Force with 117 other cadets, stood amongst a packed crowd as Raymond praised him.

Brown will spend the next few years in the United Kingdom as a Rhodes Scholar. He plans to study international relations.

“One of the big things that we’re doing is working to strengthen the international partnerships that we have, and you’re going to be a huge addition to our team,” Raymond said. “Congratulations, and thanks for being a guardian.”

Space Force has grown to roughly 12,000 personnel split equally between guardians and civilians. When Space Force was established, roughly 4,000 military personnel applied for 650 transfer slots and 9,100 civilians applied for 70 spots at Space Force headquarters.

“People are excited about what we’re building in the Space Force and they want in,” Raymond said. “Space is really hard, but the guardians we are recruiting, training and developing make it look easy.”

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Space Force established its last of three planned major commands, Space Readiness and Training Command, Monday at Peterson Space Force Base. The command's focus is on educating and training guardians to be top space warfighters.

Raymond also spoke about the importance of Space Symposium, which typically attracts more than 14,000 people to Colorado Springs each year. COVID-19 canceled the 2020 symposium, and this year’s event is offered in-person and virtually.

“This symposium plays a huge role in connecting the global space community, and I’m really grateful we didn’t have to go another year without getting together as a global enterprise,” Raymond said.

Raymond noted many developments in the space domain since the last symposium in 2019.

  • Two companies have sent tourists to space.
  • USA and China have each landed an additional probe on Mars.
  • NASA is flying a helicopter on Mars.
  • More than 2,000 active satellites in orbit have grown to just under 5,000.

“Investment in the commercial space sector continues to rocket upwards, driving a second golden age of space,” Raymond said.

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