For those of you who came here looking for the term's idiomatic meaning, that's a CloudCuckooLander.

As for actual space cadets:

A DiscreditedTrope from the early PulpMagazine days of media science fiction (peaked in the 1950's in movie serials and TV shows), involving a hero who was part of an organization that handles law and order in outer space, much like in a [[SpaceWestern Western... in space]]. Frequently the titular SpaceCadet was a child or teen who was a new recruit or a sidekick to [[CaptainSpaceDefenderOfEarth an older hero]]. May be the equivalent of WalkingTheEarth with isolated outposts and frontier planets; especially strange when the KidHero seems not to have a family at home. His training place would be the SpaceCadetAcademy.

For the Creator/RobertAHeinlein novel, see ''Literature/SpaceCadet''.

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!!Examples:

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[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* Sasami was cast as this in the TenchiMuyo [=OVA=] special ''Mihoshi's Space Police Adventure''. Of course, [[PrettySammy that's not all she was there for...]]
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[[folder: Film]]
* ''Commander Cody''.
* ''BuckRogers'', especially in the comic strip and movie serial, where the kid sidekick Buddy was added.
* Dickie in ''[[http://www.captainbucky.com/ The Adventures of Captain Bucky and his Space Marshals, in Outer Space]]''.
-->'''Dickie:''' Gee golly, Captain -- I would have never thought of that!
-->'''Captain Bucky:''' Well Dickie, that's why you're not TheCaptain.
* ''TheLastStarfighter'' is about an Earth teen who gets recruited by aliens for this sort of organization.
* What Jim becomes in Disney/TreasurePlanet
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[[folder: Literature]]
* ''Literature/SpaceCadet'': Creator/RobertAHeinlein novel, best known for its opening pages being so prophetic as to not read like ScienceFiction today.
** His earlier story ''Literature/{{Misfit}}'' also fits the trope, and makes the ''inspiration'' from the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps more explicit.
* ''Tom Corbett, Space Cadet'' (based on the novel)
* The ''Literature/LuckyStarr'' series of books by Creator/IsaacAsimov, which started with ''David Starr, Space Ranger''.
** Jeff Wells of Isaac and Janet Asimov's ''Norby'' series is also technically a space cadet, although most of his adventures are unofficial ones.
* Various midshipmen throughout David Weber's ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' stories, including Harrington herself in the novella "Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington".
** Literature/StephanieHarrington and several of her friends are Probationary Rangers with the Sphynxian Forestry Service. Sort of a {{Reconstruction}} of the trope, as Stephanie was made the first such Probationary Ranger to justify the Forestry Service keeping tabs on her to [[LeeroyJenkins keep her out of trouble.]]
* The ''Scott Saunders Space Adventure'' series by Creator/PatrickMoore.
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[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* ''Space Patrol'' (1950's radio and TV)
* ''Series/CaptainVideo and his Video Rangers''
* ''Rocky Jones, Space Ranger''
* ''Rod Brown of the Rocket Rangers''
* Wesley Crusher represents the best example in the ''Franchise/StarTrek'' universe. As a child prodigy, he represented an AudienceSurrogate for a young viewer and could be considered a "sidekick" to Picard. Later in the series, Wesley became a literal cadet in Starfleet. Harry Kim is the closest example in ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'', while "Red Squad" in ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Deep Space Nine]]'' is something of a {{Deconstruction}} of the trope.
** Nog becomes a cadet in Season 3 of ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine [=DS9=]]]'' before his RankUp to Ensign.
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[[folder: Radio]]
* ''Radio/SonOfCliche'' with their sci-fi spoof "Dave Hollis: Space Cadet". Some of the gags were later reused in ''Series/RedDwarf''.
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[[folder: Video Games]]
* ''[[VideoGame/SpaceCadet 3-D Pinball: Space Cadet]]'' is named after this.
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[[folder: Western Animation]]
* Buzz Lightyear from ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory'' is an homage/parody of this trope.
* "Galaxy High" plays this trope semi-straight.
* Porky Pig's title in the WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes short ''WesternAnimation/DuckDodgersInTheTwentyFourthAndAHalfCentury'' (and the [[WesternAnimation/DuckDodgers series based on it]]) is actually '''Eager Young Space Cadet'''.
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