As NASA rushes forward to return humans to the Moon, questions have arisen about what this means for the Space Force and what role it might play in lunar activities.
If successful, NASA’s return to the Moon will lead to a permanent presence there and lay the foundation for scientific research and commercial development.
The space force and its role in protecting lunar activities
And like the Space Coast Guard, a military force will be needed to protect trade lines in the lunar economy, as a 2020 memo signed by NASA and the Space Force notes that a military presence near the moon will help ensure civilians can operate safely.
The main mission of the Space Force today is to defend United States satellites in Earth orbit, but some early efforts are underway to prepare for operations in the lunar environment. Investigating techniques for observing the area of space between Earth and the Moon.
The 1967 Outer Space Treaty bans military bases and weapons on the Moon but allows for scientific endeavours, and if the Space Force is tasked with protecting lunar space, it will need to overcome significant technological challenges. Objects are a recurring pattern, paths in lunar space are unpredictable, and distances are enormous.
Other than observing and tracking objects, it is not clear what the Space Force can do in lunar space, and the head of space operations, General John “Jay” Raymond, noted that controlling altitude is central to military strategy, and the Moon will become a “key area.”
“As countries go out, and as the economy grows between here and on the moon, I think it’s an area that’s going to be important,” Raymond said on March 9 at the McAleese Defense Programs Conference.
“There are no plans today to send guardians to the Moon unless they are selected to serve on the NASA astronaut team, but as things progress in space, I see there may be a role for guardians in space,” Raymond said.
China and the United States
Going to the Moon is not currently on the list of national security priorities, and Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said at the McAleese Conference, “I don’t see much interest from a defense perspective,” noting that the United States today faces challenges. Great security in space within Earth’s orbits.
Congress may have other ideas. In the recently passed 2022 defense budget, lawmakers included money for two lunar space programs: $61 million for the Air Force Research Laboratory experiment and $70 million for a thermonuclear propulsion display that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wants to launch. in the lunar region.
China’s move to challenge the United States in space will also place some burden on the United States, including in the lunar region.
The militarization of space is the new reality that nations have to contend with, as not only are there more countries with space capabilities, but advanced space technologies with Dual-use nature, so that it can easily be converted to militarization.
Desauttles said that if China competes with the United States in lunar space, and the United States expands its presence on the lunar surface, there will have to be some kind of verification regime to ensure compliance with the Outer Space Treaty.
“I spoke to my colleagues at NASA about volunteering to be the first diplomat to perform these inspections,” he said.
He added in all seriousness, “Those facilities must be open for inspection, and this of course applies to the US Department of Defense, and any activities that the Ministry of Defense decides to carry out on the moon must be open for inspection.”
Source: space news
“Proud twitter enthusiast. Introvert. Hardcore alcohol junkie. Lifelong food specialist. Internet guru.”