Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released the first-ever Cislunar National Science and Technology (S&T) Strategy to address how US science and technology leadership will support exploration and development. responsible, peaceful, and sustainable use of cislunar space, the large region of space in the Earth-Moon system beyond geosynchronous orbit (GEO), including the Moon, by all spacefaring nations and entities, online with the US Space Priority Framework. This effort builds on the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to maintain a robust and accountable U.S. space enterprise and to advance U.S. leadership in space exploration, space science, and space sustainability.
The coming decade is pivotal for the exploration of cislunar space, including the lunar surface. NASA estimates that in the next ten years, human activity in cislunar space will equal or exceed what has occurred in this region since the start of the space age in 1957. Many other countries and other actors are planning to travel to this new sphere of human activity.
Cislunar space holds enormous promise for the advancement of science, technology, and exploration. Humanity’s activities on the Moon are a unique inspiration to people all over the world. Cislunar space offers opportunities to answer some of the top priority questions in planetary science and 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 drive economic growth in space.
Promoting scientific discovery, economic development, and international cooperation are essential to achieving and sustaining US science and technology leadership in cislunar space. The Cislunar National S&T Strategy provides a first step in addressing future opportunities that benefit all, by establishing four key S&T objectives:
Support research and development to enable future growth in cislunar space. American technology endeavors begin with a positive and expansive vision of the future, led by a diverse science and engineering workforce. The Moon is an engine of scientific advances and potential economic growth. Research and development opportunities in cislunar space range from new breakthroughs in space science to the development of new cislunar technologies to new breakthroughs in understanding the effects of the space environment on humans.
Expand international scientific and technological cooperation in cislunar space. International scientific and technological cooperation can foster peace, develop responsible practices and create the basis for new institutions to enable a lasting human and robotic presence in cislunar space. Continuing to grow international cooperation can also amplify the achievements of the Artemis Accords, demonstrating how to explore and use space responsibly and for the benefit of all humanity.
Extend US space situational awareness capabilities into cislunar space. Spatial situational awareness enables transparency and safe operations for all entities operating in cislunar space. This lens also contributes to early warning of potentially dangerous asteroids.
Implement Cislunar communications, positioning, navigation, and timing capabilities with scalable and interoperable approaches. Communications and positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) are the common information capabilities required for all activities in cislunar space, including in lunar orbit and on the lunar surface. This goal will promote early information capabilities that can enable a cooperative and sustainable ecosystem in cislunar space, reduce barriers to entry and foster new commercial space activities, and advance responsible and safe spaceflight practices.
Developed through stakeholder consultation and collaboration among U.S. government agencies, the National Cislunar S&T Strategy provides vision and early science and technology goals to advance the U.S. government’s goal of responsible Cislunar exploration , peaceful and sustainable.