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Starfleet Command and Space Force
The seal for Star Trek’s fictional Starfleet Command has some design elements in common with the seal for the U.S. Space Force. (CBS / Space Force Images via Twitter)

We don’t know whether Mr. Spock would have cocked an eyebrow over the Starfleet-like U.S. Space Force seal that was revealed by President Donald Trump today, but we’ve found out what Star Trek’s Mr. Sulu would do.

  • Trump has long been a big proponent of the Space Force, which was established last month under the wing of the Department of the Air Force. So it’s no surprise that the president made a big deal over the seal. “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!” he tweeted.
  • It didn’t take long for Twitter wags to note the similarities between the angled chevron, swooping swirl and starry background of the seal and the stylized chevron, swooping swirl and starry background of the Starfleet Command logo from the Star Trek TV and movie series. George Takei, who played Mr. Sulu on the original Star Trek TV show, joked on Twitter that “we are expecting some royalties from this,” and offered up the Star Wars Imperial seal as a “more politically aligned logo for the Trump Administration to emulate.”
  • Buzzfeed News pointed out that the Starfleet Command logo was inspired in part by NASA’s classic “meatball” logo, and the Space Force’s Facebook page noted that the seal’s chevron can be traced as far back as 1942.  So whether it’s intended or not, the nod to Starfleet on the Space Force’s seal (and on the U.S. Space Command’s shield) brings the imitation game full circle. For what it’s worth, other Star Trek stars had no immediate comment on the Twitter tiff: They were too busy promoting “Star Trek: Picard,” CBS’ new streaming series.

Update for 7:30 a.m. PT Jan. 25: Star Trek’s original Captain Kirk, William Shatner, commented on the controversy with an oblique tweet: “Why aren’t you asking @StarTrek or @CBS if they are going to file suit for copyright infringement?” In follow-up tweets, he said that comment doesn’t mean he’s taking sides. “The implied question … was “(Why are you asking me?) Why aren’t you asking @StarTrek or @CBS if they are going to file suit,” he wrote.

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