In Netflix’s comedy series Space Force , co-creator and star Steve Carell plays General Mark R Naird, the chief of operations of the newly established 6th branch of the US armed forces. Things get off to a flying start when his team successfully launches a secretive military satellite code-named Epsilon 6. But the first episode ends with a massive Chinese spacecraft manoeuvring alongside the US satellite and deploying a giant robotic arm to clip off its solar panels, the satellite’s only power source. Space Force is not among Carell’s funniest efforts; I am partial to The 40-Year-Old Virgin . But it turns out to be extremely prescient. Or perhaps Pentagon generals just take its script too literally. The fictional General Naird has a real-life counterpart; who would have guessed? In his latest US congressional testimony, General James Dickinson, chief of the US Space Command, warned against precisely such a Chinese technology and its military applications. He was referring to the deployment of a powerful robotic arm attached to the core module of the Tiangong space station, whose construction begins this month. Another Chinese satellite, the Shijian-17, also carries a robotic arm. Such arms, Dickinson warns, “could be used in a future system for grappling other satellites” and to take down US space probes. Actually, Americans pioneered the robotic technology as early as the 1990s. The Chinese, Japanese and Europeans have used them to clear low-orbit space junk and to steer debris to fall back to Earth to disintegrate in the atmosphere. The Tiangong’s robotic arm, a 10-metre-long device, is designed to grab incoming spacecraft as they approach the space station and help them to dock. But it seems Carell’s comedy series has made too strong an impression on Dickinson. The series gets better and more explosive towards the end. SPOILER ALERT! At the end of the first season, General Naird’s space force tries to establish a base on the moon, but is beaten to it by the Chinese. Oh boy, Russia and China have already signed a memorandum of understanding in March to jointly build the International Lunar Research Station. (This is real news, by the way, not Netflix.) However, Netflix has renewed the series for a second season and has reportedly started filming this month. It will take off where it left off, with both sides having sabotaged each other’s moon base. I can already see where Pentagon’s Dickinson will be going with this.