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Aerospace Corporation White paper: Cislunar Development: What to Build - and Why

Status Report From: Aerospace Corporation
Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2018

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The Aerospace Corporation's Center for Space Policy and Strategy (CSPS) released a new policy paper that explores future opportunities in cislunar space—essentially, the space inside the moon's orbit and the orbital area around the moon.

Cislunar Development: What to Build— and Why discusses the possible applications for cislunar space—for example, outposts on the moon, extraterrestrial mining operations, interplanetary waystations—and determines the infrastructure that will be needed to realize those ambitious goals. Author Dr. James Vedda, senior policy analyst with CSPS, says that the cislunar region remains a largely underdeveloped resource, and any coherent, long-term strategy for space commerce and exploration will need to make better use of it.

"An enduring, multi-purpose space infrastructure means more than just rockets and spacecraft," said Vedda. "It needs a wide range of capabilities, such as inter-orbital transportation, on-orbit servicing, standardization, fuel storage, energy distribution, communication and navigation services, resource extraction, and materials processing."
 
Vedda added that visions for cislunar development have been proposed by public and private stakeholders in spacefaring countries, but no widespread consensus on what to build and how to build it has emerged.
 
"Most of these concepts have focused on small aspects of the overarching design—but to truly realize the enormous potential of cislunar space, infrastructure projects should strive for broad applicability, beyond a single mission or short-term series of missions for a single agency."
 
Dr. Jamie Morin, executive director for CSPS, echoed those sentiments, noting, "Investment in cislunar development makes sense as a strategy for boosting U.S. space commerce and expanding the human footprint in the solar system. Building an effective space infrastructure will involve a mix of government agencies and private-sector entrepreneurs from around the world, so collaboration between the public and private sectors and across national lines will be key."
 
About the Center for Space Policy and Strategy

The Center for Space Policy and Strategy is dedicated to shaping the future by providing nonpartisan research and strategic analysis to decisionmakers. The Center is part of The Aerospace Corporation, a nonprofit that provides objective advice to the government on complex space enterprise and systems engineering problems. To read the latest publications related to space policy matters, visit www.aerospace.org/policy.
 
About The Aerospace Corporation

The Aerospace Corporation is a California nonprofit corporation that operates a federally funded research and development center and has approximately 3,900 employees. It provides guidance and advice to military, civil, and commercial customers to ensure the success of complex, technology-based programs. The Aerospace Corporation is headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., with multiple locations across the United States. For more information, visit www.aerospace.org. Follow us on Twitter: @AerospaceCorp.

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