OSTP publishes first national Cislunar science and technology strategy

OSTP publishes first national Cislunar science and technology strategy

Cislunar National Science and Technology Strategy

OSTP

Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released the first National Cislunar Science and Technology (S&T) Strategy to outline how US S&T leadership will promote responsible, peaceful and sustainable exploration and use of Cislunar space – of the great region of space – will support the Earth-Moon system beyond geosynchronous orbit (GEO), including the moon – by all spacefaring nations and entities, in accordance with the US Space Priorities Framework. These efforts build on the efforts of the Biden-Harris administration to maintain a robust and accountable US space enterprise and expand US leadership in space exploration, space science, and space sustainability.

The coming decade is crucial for exploring Cislunar space, including the lunar surface. NASA estimates that human activity in Cislunar space over the next decade will be equal to or greater than anything that has occurred in this region since the beginning of the space age in 1957. Many more countries and other actors are planning to travel to this new sphere of human activity.

Cislunar space holds tremendous promise for the advancement of science, technology, and exploration. Humanity’s activities on the moon are uniquely inspiring to people around the world. Cislunar space offers opportunities to answer some of the most important questions in planetary science and to explore the history of our solar system and the 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 spur economic growth in space.

The advancement of scientific discovery, economic development, and international cooperation are essential to achieving and maintaining US science and technology leadership in the Cislunar space. The National Cislunar S&T Strategy provides a first step to address future opportunities for the benefit of all by setting four key S&T goals:

Support research and development to enable future growth in the Cislunar space. America’s technological endeavor begins with a positive, expansive vision of the future led by a diverse science and engineering workforce. The moon is an engine of scientific advance and potential economic growth. Research and development opportunities in Cislunar space range from novel discoveries in space science to the development of new Cislunar technologies and new breakthroughs in understanding the impact of the space environment on humans.

Expansion of the international S&T cooperation in the Cislunar area. International S&T cooperation can promote peace, develop responsible practices, and lay the foundations for new institutions to enable a permanent human and robotic presence in Cislunar space. Further expanding international cooperation can also reinforce the goals achieved by the Artemis Accords by demonstrating how space can be explored and used responsibly, benefiting all humankind.

Extension of US space situational awareness capabilities to Cislunar space. Space Situational Awareness allows for transparency and safe operations for all units operating in Cislunar space. This goal also helps provide early warning of potentially dangerous asteroids.

Implement Cislunar communications and positioning, navigation, and timing capabilities using scalable and interoperable approaches. Communications and Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) are the common information functions required for all activity in Cislunar space, including in lunar orbit and on the lunar surface. This goal will foster early intelligence capabilities that can enable a collaborative and sustainable ecosystem in Cislunar space, lower barriers to entry and encourage new commercial space activities, and drive responsible and safe spaceflight practices.

Developed through stakeholder consultation and collaboration among US government agencies, the National Cislunar S&T Strategy provides a vision and initial science and technology goals to advance the US government’s goal of responsible, peaceful and sustainable exploration of Cislunar.

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