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Space Cadet

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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.



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     Anime and Manga 


  • Space Cadet: Robert A. Heinlein novel, best known for its opening pages being so prophetic as to not read like Science Fiction today.
    • 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)
  • The Lucky Starr series of books by Isaac Asimov, 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 Honor Harrington stories, including Harrington herself in the novella "Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington".
  • The Scott Saunders Space Adventure series by Patrick Moore.

     Live Action TV 
  • Space Cadet Happy from Space Patrol (1950's radio and TV)
  • The Video Ranger from Captain Video and his Video Rangers
  • Winky and Tagalong Kid Bobby from Rocky Jones, Space Ranger
  • Tom Corbett: Space Cadet, as well as his companions Astro and Roger Manning, all cadets on a training ship. Rod Brown of the Rocket Rangers had a similar premise.
  • Wesley Crusher represents the best example in the Star Trek universe. As a child prodigy, he represented an Audience Surrogate for a young viewer and could be considered a "sidekick" to Picard. Later in the series, Wesley became a literal cadet in Starfleet.
    • The elite cadet group "Red Squad" featured in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is something of a Deconstruction of the trope — especially in the episode "Valiant", which shows what happens when a group of cocky cadets get to fly their own ship without adult supervision. They attack a Dominion battleship and get blasted to hell.
    • Nog becomes a cadet in Season 3 of DS9 before his Rank Up to Ensign.
    • Icheb becomes a long-range version (as in 30,000 light years from Starfleet Academy) in Season 7 of Star Trek: Voyager, being instructed by the command staff of Voyager.

    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.

     Video Games 

     Western Animation