Press Release

AFRL’s Cislunar Highway Patrol seeks industry collaboration

By SpaceRef Editor
March 21, 2022
Filed under , ,

Artist’s rendering of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Cislunar Highway Patrol, that
will soon be under development at AFRL. An illustrated video that depicts CHPS’
launch to X-GEO can be found at

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL)
Space Vehicles Directorate is seeking partners to design and inform the capabilities of
the Cislunar Highway Patrol System (CHPS) satellite, to provide space domain
awareness beyond Geosynchronous orbit, in the region of the moon, that is
experiencing increasing activity.

A draft Request for Proposals was posted last week, on the website, and
companies who are part of the Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC) are encouraged to
submit ideas by the deadline of 11 a.m. MST on April 1, 2022. Only members of the
consortium are able to view the details of the posting, due to security guidance.

“The CHPS program will deliver space domain awareness, in a region that is one
thousand times greater than our current area of responsibility,” said Michael Lopez, the
newly announced CHPS program manager. “AFRL is interested in hearing from
companies that may have ideas that differ from ours, and could contribute to the
satellite’s capabilities.”

The Cislunar Highway Patrol System is a spacecraft conceived at the AFRL Space
Vehicles Directorate, and is being designed to improve the United States Space Force’s
(USSF) ability to detect track and identify artificial objects operating at lunar distances
and beyond, a range of 385,000 km.

Most Space Force sensors are designed to detect and track satellites that are in Geo
synchronous orbit (~36,000 km) distances or closer.

CHPS will search for unknown objects like mission related debris, rocket bodies, and
other previously untracked cislunar objects, as well as provide position updates on
spacecraft currently operating near the Moon or other cislunar regions that are
challenging to observe from Earth.

In addition to extending the Space Force’s sensing capabilities, CHPS will provide the
DOD with experience operating in the complicated gravitational environment that exists
in specific areas between the Earth and the Moon, and help mature technology required
to communicate and navigate near the Moon.

“We are looking forward to seeing what industry will propose, to help us design and
build the system,” said Lopez. ”Our goal is to create a satellite that will become critically
important as the U.S. supports civil and commercial efforts in the Cislunar domain.”

A draft request for prototype form companies interested in working with AFRL to
develop this prototype is posted on The consortium manager is authorized
to release federally approved opportunities under the SpEC OT.

The Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC) was created in 2017 through the Air Force
Space Systems Command to bridge the gap between military buyers and commercial
space startups and small businesses through Other Transaction Agreements (OTAs).
These agreements are a non-traditional contracting method designed to help fast-track
research initiatives and prototype innovation, increasing the government’s ability to
capitalize on emerging technology and leverage flexible processes that reduce risk.

Companies interested in joining SpEC and supporting the CHPS program, and other
space opportunities, can find more information at


Photo & Video Link Below

About AFRL

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is the primary scientific research and
development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in
leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting
technologies for our air, space, and cyberspace forces. With a workforce of more than
11,500 across nine technology areas and 40 operations across the globe, AFRL
provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to
advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit: 

SpaceRef staff editor.