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White House Releases the First National Strategy for Cislunar Space

By | November 18, 2022
White House

The White House. Photo: US government

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released its first strategy for U.S. science and technology leadership in Cislunar space on Nov. 17. Cislunar space covers the region of space beyond Geosynchronous Orbit (GSO), but still within the gravitational influence of the Earth and/or the Moon. OSTP said the strategy is consistent with the U.S. Space Priorities Framework

The National Cislunar Science and Technology Strategy is intended to provide a vision and science and technology objectives “for realizing U.S. leadership in responsible and sustainable exploration, development, and utilization of Cislunar space, including the Moon.” It was developed with input from stakeholders and a working group with number of U.S. government agencies.

OTSP said the strategy is important as both government and commercial human activity and exploration is set to ramp up in Cislunar space in the next 10 years, including NASA’s Artemis program. 

“Cislunar space provides opportunities for answering some of the highest priority questions in planetary science and exploring the history of our solar system and Sun. Cislunar space also contains radio-quiet environments that could help catalyze a new generation of radio astronomy, a valuable region for testing human exploration technologies and operations, and the potential to drive economic growth in space,” the strategy says. 

The strategy’s key objectives are: support research and development to enable long-term growth in Cislunar space; Expand international science and technology cooperation in Cislunar space; extend U.S. space situational awareness capabilities into Cislunar space; and implement Cislunar communications and positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) capabilities. 

The strategy says basic infrastructure including communications, PNT, transportation, and radio frequency spectrum management is needed to support future Cislunar activities. 

“Implementing needed Cislunar communications and PNT capabilities with scalable and interoperable approaches, analogous to development of early internet technologies, can foster commercial development necessary for sustainable activities, build early technology ecosystems based on cooperation around shared values, and advance responsible and safe spaceflight practices,” the document says.