Introduced in the early 1990s, the Space/Missile badge was awarded to officers in the specialties of Astronaut (13A) and Missile Operations (13S),
as well as shredouts 13SXC Missile Operations and 13S4 Space and Missile Staff Officer. The only enlisted personnel the new badge was awarded to were in the 1C6 specialty Space Systems Operations.
The introduction of the Space/Missile badge brought with it a great deal of confusion, with some officers being allowed to wear both the new badge and the old Missile Operations badge. While some sources state that the Space/Missile badge replaced the Missile badge, the 1 May 1997 Air Force Instruction 36-2923, Aeronautical, Duty, and Occupational Badges, clearly lists “Missile” and “Missile with Operations Designator” badges as still being authorized for wear. What’s more, there were several instances in which both badges could be worn.
In 2005, a new Space Badge
was introduced to replace the Space/Missile badge, and in 2008 the Missile badge with Operations Designator was reintroduced. The criteria for the new Space badge is much more clearly defined, with only officers in the 13SX Space Operations specialty and enlisted Airmen in the 1C6X1 Space Systems Operations specialty eligible to wear it.
However, the old Space/Missile badge was still authorized for former enlisted space personnel and space-experienced officers who underwent permanent retraining with the establishment of the new Space rating/badge. A few of the officer AFSCs affected included 18XX, 20XX, 27XX, 28XX, and 277XX, while enlisted AFSCs included 1C6XX and 1NXXX.
The Space badge was subsequently renamed the Space Operations
badge in 2014.