Elon Musk Is a Fan of Donald Trump's Space Force: 'I Think It's Cool'

Elon Musk has said he is a fan of Donald Trump's plan to create a Space Force.

The billionaire visionary behind Tesla and SpaceX told Recode's Kara Swisher this week that he thought it was a "cool" idea to have an agency that provides "defense in space." His comments came as part of a wide-ranging interview for the Recode Decode podcast.

"This may be a little controversial, but I actually like the idea," Musk, 47, said when asked what he thought of Trump's proposal. "I think it's cool. You know, like, when the Air Force was formed, there was a lot of, like, pooh-poohing, and, like, 'Oh, how silly to have an Air Force!'"

He continued, "People today may not realize back then it was widely panned as a ridiculous thing to create the Air Force, but now everyone's, like, 'Obviously, you should have an Air Force. I think it's gonna become obvious that we should have a Space Force too."

In June, Trump said at a meeting with the National Space Council that he was planning to ask the Department of Defense and the Pentagon to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces. "When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space," he said.

What it meant in reality, no one was quite sure. "We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force—separate but equal. It is going to be something," Trump said.

Yet by September reports were emerging that the idea would be expensive. Military officials argued it could be a drain on resources. Indeed, such a force was estimated to cost almost $13 billion. But for Musk, the idea was still enticing.

Asked what it was likely to accomplish, the Tesla CEO, whose company SpaceX is already routinely sending rockets into the skies, told Swisher: "You know, it's basically defense in space. I think it could be pretty helpful for maybe expanding our civilization...expanding things beyond Earth."

He said, "I think we could just have a base on the moon, for example. A base on Mars. Be great to expand on the idea of a Space Force."

Musk continued, "Anyone who has an exploratory spirit—and I think that especially applies to a country like the United States, where, you know, it's kind of the distillation of the spirit of human exploration—I think the idea of being out there among the stars and among the planets is very exciting."

Elon Musk
Elon Musk during a news conference in Chicago on June 14. Joshua Lott/Getty Images