WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — President Trump officially launched the U.S Space Command on Thursday. Military leaders said it will help defend the U.S. and our allies from space by using missile warning technology and other resources. 

With the president looking on, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper signed the documents to launch the U.S. Space Command during a ceremony in the Rose Garden.

“Space Comm will ensure that America’s dominance in space is never questioned or threatened,” Trump said.

The renewed focus on space comes after a 17-year hiatus following the September 11th attacks terrorists attacks. Military leaders said the next major conflict may be won or lost in space.

Esper said this will help equip our nation for a fight in the next frontier.

“We must apply the necessary focus, energy and resources to the task in that is exactly what space command will do,” Esper said.

Officials said the U.S. Space Command will play a vital role in defending American satellites and supporting troops on the ground. Space Command is the first step toward the president’s “Space Force,” which would be a sixth branch of the Armed Services.  

“Space Force will organize, train and equip warriors to support space comms mission,” Trump said.

While there’s still work to do, Space Force might not be light years away. Space Force still needs congressional approval, but supporters see Space Command as a major step toward strengthening our nation’s military.

“Now those who wish to harm the United States, to seek to challenge us in the ultimate battleground of space, it’s going to be a whole different ballgame,” Trump said.

Also at the ceremony was General John Raymond, who will serve as the first commander of U.S. Space Command.