(ORDO NEWS) — The US military wants spy satellites to patrol the Moon’s orbit, according to a recently released video first seen by Ars Technica.
A two-minute video titled “Cislunar Highway Patrol System (CHPS)”, uploaded by the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) this week, details the project.
“Until now, the United States space mission has extended 22,000 miles above the Earth,” the announcer explains in a short video. “That was then, this is now.”
“The Air Force Research Laboratory expands this range by a factor of ten, and the United States area of operations by a factor of 1,000, bringing our coverage to the far side of the Moon and cislunar space,” the narrator continues.
Details about the planned project are scarce. According to the extremely brief description on the AFRL website, CHPS is “a spaceflight experiment designed to demonstrate basic cislunar space awareness capabilities.”
This is a remarkably ambitious new project that raises many ethical questions about the legality of establishing a military presence around our closest orbital neighbor – especially now that spacecraft and even astronauts are once again required to return to the lunar surface.
The project will be carried out in cooperation between several US military departments. The Air Force will work with other organizations and contractors to build the CHPS satellite, and US Space Command will decide how best to use it, Ars notes.
“This is the first step for them to be able to know what’s going on in circumlunar space and then identify any potential threats to US operations,” Brian Weeden, director of program planning for the Safe World Foundation, told Ars.
AFRL also plans to demonstrate small satellites for other lunar missions.”
The US military seems to have been caught off guard by the sudden desire to go to the moon.
We assumed there might be adversaries out there that could pose a threat to our space systems years ago, but we thought, “Oh, that’s far away,” Eric Felt, director of the AFRL Space Administration, told defense publication C4ISRNET last month. . “But the activity has been so great.”
This pace of activity makes us say: “Well, we had a plan to achieve awareness of cislunar outer space, but now we need to accelerate our plan, because everything is happening much faster than we expected,” he added.
It is not yet clear when and whether such a satellite will be launched in cislunar space. So far, AFRL is looking for suitable contract partners to help it develop such technologies.
The lab expects to win a contract this summer and launch the satellite in 2025, Felt said.
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