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19-year-old becomes Indiana's 1st US Space Force recruit

Kelani Vestil said he’d eventually like to consider taking classes to become an astronaut.

INDIANAPOLIS — The new United States Space Force military branch is getting its first Hoosier member.

Kelani Vestil is Indiana's first space guardian in training. He decided to join the Space Force because of his long-time interest in rocketry, STEM and space sciences.

The 19-year old said his mom encouraged him to apply — and now, he's launching an innovative career.

“I'd love to do something not many people can do,” Vestil said, “like help in operations that send people and satellite missions into space."

Credit: U.S. Space Force
Kelani Vestil, 19, is Indiana's first space guardian in training to join the U.S. Space Force.

Before that, Vestil has to go through basic training in Texas, along with other recruits. Then, he'll learn a job skill, which could help him track satellites and other orbiting objects, work with mission launches, or other space operations. Vestil said he’d eventually like to consider taking classes to become an astronaut.  

TSgt Chavis Kendrick, Vestil's recruiter, said being a Space Force guardian requires people who are innovative and love challenges.

The Space Force was started just over a year ago. It used to be called "Space Command" and was part of the Air Force.

The Space Force is the smallest military branch, with 2,501 space guardians.

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