The logo of the latest branch of the United States military, Space Force, was revealed today via a Tweet from President Donald Trump. When people got a look at the logo, many commented on the similarities the logo has to the logo of Star Trek’s Starfleet.
As you can see in the Tweet below, the logo does bring to mind the fictional space exploration/military branch of The Federation, Starfleet. Because of that, it instantly caused a stir on Twitter which saw Paramount, Star Trek, and Gene Roddenberry each to start trending on the platform.
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! pic.twitter.com/TC8pT4yHFT
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2020
Here is a side by side comparison of the two logos. It doesn’t take a sharp eye to notice that they are quite similar in design. Because of that, social media erupted as people were either praising the new logo, or going so far as to ask Paramount/CBS to take the federal government to court over what they believe to be IP thief.
Many heads exploded, with even “news sites” such as Gizmodo sharing an angry Tweet and article over the issue. Titled “Leave Star Trek Alone You Piece Of Shit,” the article attempts to debunk anyone explaining away the similarities by using NASA’s own logo. As you could imagine it was very high quality “journalism” there. I guess research into the actual history of the Star Trek logo and Star Trek, as you’ll see below, is less important than screaming to the heavens
— io9 (@io9) January 24, 2020
Then you had those who work in the entertainment industry.
The Orville writer David Goodman took to Twitter to express his opinion that he thinks Paramount is going to sue the United States government over the logo.
I think Paramount is going to sue. https://t.co/K4w8JLSbva
— David Goodman (@DavidAGoodman) January 24, 2020
Lucifer showrunner Joe Henderson would respond indicating he hopes that they do.
God I hope they do
— Joe Henderson (@Henderson_Joe) January 24, 2020
Others also piled on. Patrick Stewart’s son, Daniel Stewart, also believes that President Trump and the federal government are going to be sued by Paramount over what they view as IP theft due to the similarities of the logos.
More like getting sued by paramount!!
— Daniel Stewart (@dnstewart67) January 25, 2020
Donald Trump decided to rip off his Space Force logo from Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek, one day after everyone just watched Star Trek Picard and got reminded of what the Starfleet logo looks like.
Trump is the world’s dumbest criminal, and it’s not even close.
— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) January 24, 2020
And it wasn’t just the blue check mark brigade.
Is this… a joke? Whoever owns the trademark to Star Trek should sue for infringement. pic.twitter.com/gKiZXgPdJ4
— Arlen Parsa (@arlenparsa) January 24, 2020
Gene Roddenberry is trending? Oh cool!
*see’s why Gene is trending*
I can’t… I can’t even with this asshole trump. We can’t have anything that’s not ruined by him. He lies, he steals, he cheats. I just want his garbage to end.
— Matt West (@fubisd) January 24, 2020
Literally no one in the trump administration gives a shit anymore. I hope Gene Roddenberry’s family sues. This is an abomination to all us Trekkies/Trekkers. pic.twitter.com/8H0QF5lhKo
— Chubby IT Guy (@Chojin_1999) January 24, 2020
But there’s a problem with the idea of suing the federal government over this logo. First let’s compare Starfleet Command’s logo with another well known logo, that of NASA. As you can see in the photo below, Starfleet’s own logo looks quite familiar to another famous logo that deals with space travel.
For those wondering, the NASA logo predates Star Trek. It was commissioned in 1959 when “the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA) metamorphosed into an agency that would advance both space and aeronautics: the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).”
Even other space faring agencies around the world use similar designs of their own as you can see below:
According to a spokesmen for Space Force as reported by Valerie Insinna, “The delta symbol, the central design element in the seal, was first used as early as 1942 by the U.S. Army Air Forces; and was used in early Air Force space organization emblems dating back to 1961.” That’s a full five years before the September premiere of Star Trek: The Original Series.
A @SpaceForceDoD spokesman says via email: “The delta symbol, the central design element in the seal, was first used as early as 1942 by the U.S. Army Air Forces; and was used in early Air Force space organization emblems dating back to 1961.”
— Valerie Insinna (@ValerieInsinna) January 24, 2020
In fact, you can see an Air Force Space Command logo from 1982.
It is very clear that the logo for Starfleet was inspired by the logo from NASA. Even Star Trek’s official website notes that the delta emblem used in the Starfleet logo is a direct descendant of the old NASA logo.
It reads, “In the Star Trek universe, the delta emblem is a direct descendant of the vector component of the old NASA (and later UESPA) logos in use during Earth’s space programs of the 20th and 21st Centuries.”
You can see just how similar this United Earth Space Probe Agency’s logo is to the NASA symbol.
And as for the Starfleet Command logo, creator Michael Okuda confirms in the Star Trek Sticker Book as reported by Ex Astris Scientia that it first appeared in the fourth season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Okuda explains, “The Starfleet Command seal was first seen ‘Homefront’ (DS9) and later in ‘In the Flesh’ (VGR), although the agency itself, of course, dates back to the original Star Trek series. The symbol was intended to be somewhat reminiscent of the NASA emblem.”
However, Ex Astris Scientia explains the logo first appeared in “Rules of Engagement.” Deep Space Nine first aired in 1993.
Though this information is easily found and even available on the Star Trek website it didn’t stop celebrities infected with Trump Derangement Syndrome to spread misinformation.
What makes this story even more disappointing is watching actors who brought our favorite Star Trek characters to life, also fall into this trap. Actor/director Johnathan Frakes, Star Trek Voyager’s Robert Picardo, and George Takei also threw in their own two cents into the so-called controversy.
I thought it was China that didn’t protect intellectual property rights. pic.twitter.com/AQAZ7YD7b0
— Robert Picardo (@RobertPicardo) January 24, 2020
Thank you Doctor , you speak truth https://t.co/JBPcmcNVLc
— Jonathan Frakes (@jonathansfrakes) January 25, 2020
Ahem. We are expecting some royalties from this… https://t.co/msYcJMlqjh
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) January 24, 2020
@realDonaldTrump As Chancellor Martok of the Klingon Empire, strongly suggest ya better Call Saul on your new Space Force logo. Qapla’. jghertzler
— John G Hertzler (@JGHertzler) January 24, 2020
It’s really interesting coming from these folks who fly around in a fictional U.S.S. Enterprise.
People thinking Gene Roddenberry should sue the American govt while Star Trek’s most famous ship is the USS Enterprise. pic.twitter.com/5y2Jzk0IhR
— Arrowhead Nation SUPER BOWL!!! (@drunk_crypto) January 25, 2020
What do you make of Space Force’s new logo? It’s obvious it’s clearly descended from both Air Force and NASA symbology, though it seems that many have missed the memo in their desire to spill venom online.