If a sitting US President flew on a spacecraft operated by the US Space Force, would the spacecraft's call sign be Space Force One, analogous to Air Force One, Marine One, etc.?

What if he flew on a private spacecraft? "Executive One" like a private plane?

What about a NASA spacecraft?

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    $\begingroup$ At the current time, unless something substantial has changed or some very exceptional secret squirrel stuff is going on, the Space Force does not operate any manned spacecraft nor does it plan to. So, any situation in which it would be plausible for a US President to travel on a spacecraft operated by the Space Force would be the result of enough of a policy change that it's hard to extrapolate from current practice. It's quite plausible that the first manned military operation in space will not be run by the Space Force (my guess would be on NASA plus special forces of your choice) $\endgroup$
    – ikrase
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 6:36
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    $\begingroup$ @ikrase It doesn't have to be a spacecraft though. Any aircraft belonging to the Space Force would technically qualify if the President is on board. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 14:39
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    $\begingroup$ Given all the business a sitting president would have on a space-ship, the most appropriate name for the vessel might be "Heart of Gold". $\endgroup$
    – tjd
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 15:11
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    $\begingroup$ @tjd That, or "Colonial One" $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 22:12
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    $\begingroup$ Because it involves the President, there would be a huge series of meetings to decide the answer and the result would be driven by marketing to voters or contributors than anything else. It is hopeless to speculate on what the result of those meetings would be. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 4, 2023 at 5:25

3 Answers 3


This FAA doc for air traffic control processes on page 2-4-9 says

When the President is aboard a military aircraft, state the name of the military service, followed by the word “One.”

And followed by a subset of examples.

Note however this is an FAA document so would only rule for air traffic control*. The actual ground and space activities would have titles and callsigns resolved when it became relevant - e.g. the US Navy does not change the name of ships carrying the president, and Secret Service callsigns while working on foot are not fixed. The choice would probably depend on the political objective in having a president in the craft in the first place - certainly a contrived photo op with a vehicle on the ground to achieve first use of "Space Force One" seems sadly plausible.

*Most space flight to date has been air-traffic controlled via exclusion zone rather than direct control, it being not very useful to have a controller trying to put a space shuttle in holding pattern, or change ascent trajectory.

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    $\begingroup$ I mean, nobody has to go to space. It's enough that the very common and regular plane the president uses for some reason belongs to the Space Force. Maybe a high-altitude science plane or so $\endgroup$
    – Hobbamok
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 10:08

In the air traffic control system, call signs (especially for commercial airliners) are temporarily assigned based on function (the flight it's on). And gives a bit of information to the controllers about the flight. Since there's already a lot of procedures in place for call sign management, this is just one additional piece.

The whole history of the President's plane being assigned a special sign is due to an incident where the plane's call sign conflicted with that of another flight.

There is no space traffic control center (certainly not one that is using voice communication for real-time interaction), and there is no procedural system in place that assigns and uses call signs to deconflict communications. Piloted launch vehicles do not communicate with ATC or use ATC callsigns during the mission. It is still a rare occurrence today for communication to take place with multiple piloted space vehicles, and never is this happening without lots of planning.

  • There would be no operational benefit today for mission communications to use a special identifier.
  • I'm sure someone, somewhere during the planning would think it a cute idea and suggest it. So it could happen, but it wouldn't be to comply with any existing policy.

Someday in the future where the president's spacecraft might show up without someone expecting it, and if we're using voice communications to do spacecraft traffic control, this might be a good idea.

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    $\begingroup$ I mean, I guess not “today,” but “Eagle” was famously used as sounds-like-a-callsign-to-me for the LEM... $\endgroup$
    – KRyan
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ @KRyan I'm pretty sure "Crew Dragon Endeavour" was a call sign too, and that's a lot more recent. $\endgroup$
    – Someone
    Commented Feb 4, 2023 at 4:26
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    $\begingroup$ @Someone: Endeavour is the spacecraft's name, not callsign. When in integrated operations with the ISS, the callsigns involved are Station (the ISS), Houston (the ISS MCC), Dragon (the capsule), and SpaceX (the Dragon MCC in Hawthorne). When not in integrated operations, the callsigns involved are Dragon and SpaceX. For Inspiration4 (which had no integrated operations with the ISS and was not a NASA mission), they also used Dragon and SpaceX (except for the individual comm check with each crew member, where they used the personal callsigns Rook, Leo, Nova, Hanks). $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 10:19

No official call signs have been established for a US President flying on a spacecraft operated by the US Space Force or NASA. However, if a sitting US President were to fly on a spacecraft operated by the US Space Force, it's possible that the spacecraft could be referred to as "Space Force One". If he were to fly on a private spacecraft, it's possible it could be referred to as "Executive One". However, these are just potential names and not official call signs.

  • $\begingroup$ Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center. $\endgroup$
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    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 12:16

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