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Space Cadet

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"And if I'm dismissed from service, who will defend planet Earth?"
"I believe Corbett is available."
"Tom Corbett?" said Proton in disbelief. "That space cadet!"
Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space

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

As for actual space cadets:

A Discredited Trope from the early Pulp Magazine 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 Western... in space. Frequently the titular Space Cadet was a child or teen who was a new recruit or a sidekick to an older hero. May be the equivalent of Walking the Earth with isolated outposts and frontier planets; especially strange when the Kid Hero seems not to have a family at home. His training place would be the Space Cadet Academy.

For the Robert A. Heinlein novel, see Space Cadet. For the virtual pinball table, see Full Tilt! Pinball.



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  • Space Cadet: By Robert A. Heinlein. Notably interesting for being perhaps the Ur-Example, and showing what modern readers will easily recognize as a cell phone in the opening pages.
    • His earlier story 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)
  • Isaac Asimov's The Complete Adventures of Lucky Starr: David "Lucky" Starr is a young member of Earth's Council of Science, and is in his early twenties. Rather than being a sidekick, he has one in the form of John Bigman Jones, his unofficial buddy in their quest to keep the solar system safe for the average citizen and foil the plots from the Sirian colony.
  • Isaac Asimov and Janet Asimov's Norby Chronicles: Jeff's older brother is a member of the Space Police, and Jeff buys Norby to help himself study for school, which is the pseudo-military academy required for the Space Police, making the titular character the sidekick to the Space Cadet. A sidekick who ends up being the cause of most of his (mis-)adventures.
  • David Weber's Honor Harrington:
  • Harrington herself in the novella "Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington".
  • The Star Kingdom: Stephanie Harrington 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 keep her out of trouble.

    Live Action TV 
  • Tom Corbett: Space Cadet: Tom, as well as his companions Astro and Roger Manning, are all cadets on a training ship.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • AAA was visited by "Los Cadetes del Espacio" tecnico stable in the 1990s. Abismo Negro, Maniaco, Mosco de la Merced, Histeria and March-1 got together and formed Los Rudos de la Galaxia in an attempt to get rid of them.

  • Son of Cliché with their sci-fi spoof "Dave Hollis: Space Cadet". Some of the gags were later reused in Red Dwarf.

    Western Animation 


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