One Guardian: Pelletiere takes aim for the stars with Space Force career

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  • By Matt Ebarb

As a child, imagining yourself as an astronaut drifting through vast expanse of space is a dream shared by many. However, fewer people find an opportunity to turn that daydream into reality … unless your name is U.S. Space Force Capt. Alexandre Pelletier. 

Currently assigned to the 8th Combat Training Squadron as Evaluations Flight Commander, Pelletier recently took the first step toward a lifelong dream by applying for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Astronaut Selection Program.  

Neither academics nor physicality could deter Pelletier from taking the shot at his biggest dream. 

“I never gave up on the dream. Growing up, I was avid with sports like hockey, rugby and triathlons. I still bike. Doing those, I also learned I had a passion for sports science, particularly with mechanics and aerodynamics. I think NASA and the whole astro program combines those things,” said Pelletier. “For me, it was about pushing human boundaries from a physical aspect. My passion in sports and academics makes this a good fit for me.” 

Pelletier commissioned through Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, completing his bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He commissioned into the Air Force in 2019 before joining one of the first groups of interservice transfers to the Space Force in September of 2020. Since then, he’s been a Space Operations Officer in various assignments around Schriever and Peterson Space Force Bases. 

Though his sights are set on achieving a lifelong dream, Pelletier’s passion for space has driven him to seek and excel in other opportunities within the Space Force. In fact, much of his career has centered on helping units and Guardians transition to the newest branch of the armed services. 

“I’m proud to have been involved with the transfer of the Army’s 53rd Signal Battalion to the Space Force’s 53rd Space Operations Squadron,” said Pelletier, “I got to visit them, take a sense of their evaluation squadrons, train them and give them instructor certifications and lay out the plans of how we go from the Army way to the Space Force way.”  

Pelletier has been the rare Guardian in worldwide location, such as Japan and Hawaii, Pelletier also helped break new ground in the Space Force as part of the service’s inaugural Guardian Arena event at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in December. In addition to participating, Pelletier helped train two teams from Space Delta 8 and described the experience as grueling but rewarding. 

“We were ready to go. We set our expectations high and we were still totally gassed at the end of the day. The whole event was balanced where some events were more physical, then other stations were more demanding on the cognitive side,” said Pelletier. “You’re so focused on getting all the tasks done in front of you and all you’re thinking about is ‘how can I help my team out and how can I help anyone who is struggling?’” 

Though his own team missed the winners’ podium by a few points, his fellow Guardians in Delta 8’s other team took home the grand prize. Pelletier took pride in other units taking a note from Delta 8’s training and preparation regimens nonetheless. 

“Even thought it was two teams, we did everything together. We did a mini tryout to make the team. A lot of other teams were asking if we really have try outs and we said ‘of course, why wouldn’t you?’ In the end, having the preparation we did paid off.” said Pelletier. 

Though he is proud of his time at Delta 8, the near future will see Pelletier’s journey to a new assignment with the 4th Electromagnetic Warfare Squadron. Though his move is the short distance from Schriever to Peterson, his day-to-day life will look a bit different. 

“Delta 8 is MILSATCOM, so we are more focused on sustaining orbits and maintaining health of the satellites. Whereas I think the mission of the 4 EWS is a lot closer with the people we support,” said Pelletier. “Also, 4 EWS has deployments in theatre, so I’m looking forward to being closer to the action.” 

Through all the groundbreaking and change of being part of a new branch, pride in service remains a core element of being a Guardian for Pelletier. 

“There aren’t not many of us, so I’m proud of being part of something so historic to our country. It’s not often you can say you stood up a branch of the military,” said Pelletier. “Four years later, we’re still figuring things out and it’s been exciting. I’m proud of the work we’ve been doing and what we have ahead of us.” 

Pelletier anticipates he will find out the status of his astronaut program application in about a year. Should he be selection for the next level of competition, he will undergo further tests and interviews to determine further suitability and competitiveness for the program. NASA’s last application for the highly competitive program drew more than 12,000 applicants, from which 10 were selected as candidates.