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Posturing Space Forces for Operations Beyond GEO

Illustrations © James Vaughan, and used by permission. More of his work can be found here: http://www.jamesvaughanphoto.com/

By David Buehler, Eric Felt, Charles Finley, Peter Garretson, Jaime Stearns, and Andy Williams

ABSTRACT

The U.S. military must undertake the necessary preparations to secure U.S. interests beyond geostationary orbit (GEO). As U.S. space activities expand into deep space, threats to economic and security interests are likely to emerge. There are technical challenges of operating beyond GEO (XGEO). The United States must begin investing to ensure U.S. space forces will be capable of such operations.

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Today, the entirety of economic and military space activities is confined to the geocentric regime; however, commercial investments and new technologies have the potential to expand the reach of vital National space interests to the Cislunar regime and beyond in the near future. As technology marches forward, U.S. military spacepower must harmonize with the other instruments of power to protect, defend, and maintain the Nation’s strategic interests in space. – Spacepower: Doctrine for Space Forces.[1]

The U.S. Space Force’s Spacepower: Doctrine for Space Forces introduces the concept of space security and recognizes that “U.S. prosperity and economic security increasingly rely on the peaceful use of space.”[2] Mirroring familiar roles that the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard provide in the maritime regime, space security “is a presence mission that helps assure partners that the U.S. military is positioned to monitor and protect their interests.”[3] The document also asserts that “Space Security protects these interests by establishing conditions for the safe and secure access to space for civil, commercial, Intelligence Community (IC), and multinational partners.” [4] The concept includes important activities or specified missions such as protecting lines of communication, national space commerce, and mission partners from dangerous or illicit actions.[5] In addition, the document calls for deterrence by using combat forces, and maintaining and sharing domain awareness.

Strategists and policymakers must account for U.S. interests beyond geostationary orbit (XGEO) when developing future concepts of operations, policies, and resourcing for space forces. Those future interests will grow as commercial operations develop. The 2020 National Space Policy states that the Department of Defense shall, “protect freedom of navigation and preserve lines of communication that are open, safe, and secure in the space domain.”[6]

The XGEO environment is complex and challenging due to the interaction of a second gravitational body.[7] U.S. military space forces must prepare and posture now to defend U.S. economic interests by developing early space security concepts and making technology investments for space security.

This study provides recommendations for policymakers and strategists who must decide on space strategy, policy, force design, and resourcing of space forces. First, the paper offers basic assumptions about how commerce is likely to develop XGEO. Next, it provides an overview of the complexity of XGEO operations and highlights potential challenges and threats within XGEO. Last, the paper recommends technology investments and force design for XGEO.

The Future of Commerce in XGEO

The White House deep space strategy, A New Era for Deep Space Exploration and Development lays out a vision of “a sustainable human and robotic presence across the solar system – an expanding sphere of commercial, non-governmental activities in which increasing numbers of Americans live and work in space.”[8] That vision “begins with a campaign to use Earth’s orbital environment, the surface and resources of the Moon, and Cislunar space to develop the critical technologies, operational capabilities, and commercial space economy necessary for a sustainable human presence on the Moon, Mars, and beyond.”[9] Referring to the U.S. Space Force (USSF), it notes: “this vision requires a secure international environment conducive to U.S. commercial growth” and that the U.S. Space Force’s responsibilities include ensuring unfettered access to outer space.[10]

Moreover, the strategy enumerates that USSF activities “such as space transportation and logistics, power, communication, navigation, and space domain awareness are of dual-use value to all space sectors – civil, national security, and commercial.”[11] A New Era for Deep Space Exploration and Development lays strong emphasis on space resources, Lunar mining, industrialization, and commercial partnerships.[12] The strategy tasks multiple departments and agencies in the U.S. government to mobilize their resources. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Department of Commerce are tasked with executing plans to drive exploitation of Lunar resources for propellant and industrialization.[13] Toward this end, NASA has finalized memorandums of understanding with both the Department of Energy[14] and the USSF.[15] Bolstering the strategy are international efforts to secure the ability of commercial entities to recover and use space resources via the Artemis Accords[16] and the Executive Order on recovery and use of space resources.[17] The then U.S. Vice President Mike Pence explained that “in this century, we’re going back to the Moon with new ambitions, not just to travel there, not just to develop technologies there, but also to mine oxygen from Lunar rocks that will refuel our ships; to use nuclear power to extract water from the permanently shadowed craters of the South Pole.” [18] Recent discoveries reveal that unlike previously thought, water is more abundant on the Lunar surface, including in sunlit regions and micro-cold traps.[19]

Industry experts, international banks, and trade organizations have similar forecasts for the future of the space economy: for circa 2040 (UBS $1T,[20] Goldman Sachs $1.1T,[21] Morgan Stanley $1.1T,[22] U.S. Chamber of Commerce $1.5T[23]) and circa 2050 (Bank of America Merrill Lynch $2.7T).[24] Reflecting their projections, then U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross stated: “Current industry projections place the 2040 global space economy at between $1 and $3 trillion. And I think we will certainly get to a trillion before 2030.”[25] He goes on to explain: “Government activity in space is growing, but over 80 percent of the $415 billion space economy is commercial. We believe the future of space is overwhelmingly commercial in nature, and will no longer be dominated by government agencies and their priorities.” [26] Secretary Ross’ comments specifically highlighted Lunar mining, asteroid mining, and space tourism.[27] The U.S. government objective is to remain the flag of choice for commercial space firms.[28]

Industry thought leaders also foresee industrial development beyond GEO.[29] Numerous academic, corporate, government, and think tank organizations have articulated the potential future Cislunar economy, which includes space mining, in-space manufacturing, tourism, orbital power stations, and a supporting in-space logistics system.[30]

The inclusion of physical goods traversing lines of commerce marks a major diversification of the in-space economy from its current information-centric nature. Most gathered materials would likely be used in space. However, some space-manufactured products or extremely valuable rare-earth metals may be delivered to Earth.

In 2019, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission recommended that Congress direct the executive branch to produce a long-term economic space resource strategy covering U.S. strategic interests in or relating to Cislunar space, including “an assessment of the viability of extraction of space-based precious minerals, onsite exploitation of space-based natural resources, and space-based solar power” and comparative assessment of China’s related programs.[31] The concern, as assessed in USSF ‘Space Futures’ visioning efforts is that, “China is executing a long-term civil, commercial, and military strategy for exploration and economic development of the Cislunar domain, to include the settlement of the Moon, with the explicit aim of displacing the United States as the leading space power. Other nations are developing similar national strategies.”[32] As a result, the United States “must recognize that in the world of 2060, space will be a significant engine of national political, economic, and military power for whichever nations or nation best recognize(s) the potential of space and organizes and operates to exploit and maximize that potential… A failure to remain the leading space power will place U.S. national power at risk.”[33]

Resources, logistics, and successful alliances may play a greater role in sustaining national spacepower than a narrow focus on military technological advantage.[34] The visioning and strategy efforts have also identified several centers of gravity central to great power competition in space: space transportation and logistics; in-space power; space resources and manufacturing; and the supporting policy and financial tools.[35] A convergence of drivers — national policy, civil space plans, industry expectations, adversary ambitions, and strategic estimates – all suggest U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) and USSF must anticipate an expansion of U.S. interests and great power competition beyond GEO.[36]

Anticipating Challenges and Threats

Exploitation of the resources on the Moon and other celestial bodies could become the spotlight of a new round of the space race and a new “battlefield” among space powers. — Guoyu Wang, Deputy Director of the China National Space Administration (CNSA) Space Law Center[37]

Anticipating a fully developed space economy, USSF Major Sean McClain assesses that “the most likely threats to the United States in the long-term will be against the nation’s ability to exploit resources in space that contribute to its gross domestic product (GDP) and overall economic strength.” [38] His views echo widespread calls from experts on the U.S.-China Economic and Security Commission, the U.S. National Security Council, U.S. National Space Council, U.S. military organizations, and military space professionals calling for U.S. space forces to prepare to defend space commerce.[39] The U.S. space security mission is expected to evolve within a robust and competitive cislunar economy, necessitating development of specific technologies and force design.

As Americans and their economic interests traverse or reside in deep space, they will encounter familiar challenges and hazards experienced already in other natural domains. Around the world, the U.S. military is frequently asked to prevent loss of life or property, or to help in recovery from natural or man-made hazards such as humanitarian relief operations, non-combatant evacuation operations, rescue, and assistance at sea.[40] In keeping with these non-core, but traditional military roles, as commercial activity moves further into space, military space forces will likely be called upon to provide similar support to commercial actors and scientific missions.

The U.S. military must also contend with anticipated threats in XGEO. The promise of economic gain invariably leads to competition. In a competitive environment, conflict is inevitable as actors gain the ability to access and exploit valuable areas of space. These actors simultaneously gain an inherent ability to interfere with others through occupation, blockade, electronic interference, or other activities that cause degradation or damage. If malign actors face no threat of attribution and retaliation, they may be tempted to undermine the interests of other actors in space. In the worst case, these actors may include hostile nation-states or commercial actors and non-governmental actors engaged in harmful, illicit criminal activity or political violence.

Such threats can come from many axes. Maneuver above the Worden line[41] (~2.7 xGEO) – and especially above 7 xGEO is much less constrained than maneuver close in near-Earth orbit. Thus, use of weak stability boundaries can allow low-thrust maneuvers and wandering that could allow a threat to emerge from a diversity of approaches. As such, the USSF must surveil a much broader area for potential threats.

Required Tech Investment

When established in December 2019, USSF was tasked with defending and protecting U.S. interests in space. Until now, the limits of that mission have been in near Earth, out to approximately geostationary range (22,236 miles). With new U.S. public and private sector operations extending into Cislunar space, the reach of USSF’s sphere of interest will extend to 272,000 miles and beyond – more than a tenfold increase in range and 1,000-fold expansion in service volume. USSF now has an even greater surveillance task for space domain awareness (SDA) in that region, but its current capabilities and architecture are limited by technologies and an architecture designed for a legacy mission.[42] – NASA and USSF Memorandum of Understanding, 2020.

The complexity of the XGEO operating environment requires early investment in concepts and technology so the USSF can design, organize, train, and equip forces that United States Space Command (USSPACECOM) can use to achieve its strategic objectives.

Operating in XGEO is challenged by vast volumes, vast distances, complex orbital dynamics, and expanded spacecraft maneuverability. Familiar orbital dynamics considers the effect of one body (the Earth), on a second body (the spacecraft). Introducing a third gravitational body, the Moon, creates complex interactions (“3-body effects”) which challenge current navigation and custody systems, and require innovations to maintain space domain awareness (SDA) and logistical support.[43] These innovations could include:

1) Software and hardware infrastructure for spacecraft navigation, guidance, route-planning, custody and cuing, able to cope with 3-body effects;[44]

2) “Local” sensing: in-situ sensors able to surveil broad volumes;

3) Navigation aids able to precisely determine position (and associated ship-to-ship traffic management tools such as transponders and collision avoidance systems); and

4) Autonomous systems able to cope with round-trip delays and interruptions.

In short, it is not possible to just send existing space systems beyond GEO into Cislunar space and immediately achieve mission success. Developing the key technologies requires time. Development of the underlying technologies must begin if operational systems are to be ready at the time of need.

Specific Capability Requirements for 2030

The U.S. government must . . . be prepared to defend private and corporate rights and obligations all within keeping the Outer Space Treaty. And to enable freedom of action, the United States must have Cislunar situational awareness, a Cislunar presence, and eventually must be able to enforce the law through Cislunar power projection.[45] – Jim Bridenstine, Administrator, NASA (2018-2021).

The United States plans to establish a permanent sustainable presence on the Lunar South Pole by 2028.[46] While this facility is a whole-of-nation effort,[47] it will also include international allies and key partners.[48] Activities enabled by this facility include scientific survey sorties across the Lunar surface, regular landings of manned and unmanned commercial landers, and extant and growing utilization of space resources.

A notional XGEO Space Domain Awareness architecture (Source: AFRL)

A basic space domain awareness (SDA) architecture to support commerce and safety of navigation and space traffic management might start with wide-area search from Earth-Moon Lagrange Point 1 (EML1) and Earth-Moon Lagrange Point 2 (EML2) such as depicted in the figure above, and eventually be augmented by SDA payloads on the Lunar surface.[49]

A notional XGEO architecture should include capabilities, capacity, and authority to engage in or establish, as appropriate:

CUEING: Wide area search, detect, and orbit determination of the volume extending from GEO to the Lunar Surface. This includes a “cislunar highway patrol” at EML1 and EML2.[50]

INSPECTION: Moon-Local observation / inspection spacecraft with maneuver capability to support the XGEO volume.

SERVICING: Moon-Local logistical spacecraft to service, upgrade, and refuel the “highway patrollers,” and render rudimentary aid to civil/commercial spacecraft in distress.

SUPPLY DEPOT: A supply depot or logistical mothership / tanker craft to enable activities at GEO, XGEO, and the Moon-local areas by supporting spacecraft with propellant and communications relay.

C2 SUITE: A software suite to enable custody, scheduling, coordination, route-planning, and human-on-the-loop command and control of the entire team of XGEO assets.

Conclusion

Cislunar development will either take the form of American values with the rule of law, or it will take the form of totalitarian state control. The United States can decide who leads. – Jim Bridenstine, Administrator NASA (2018-2021)[51]

While U.S. space forces face many immediate threats and needs, long-term threats and challenges also require attention and will likely be of strategic concern to national policymakers. U.S. interests will expand beyond GEO, and the complexity of the XGEO environment requires early concept and technology investment so military space forces are prepared to provide space security. The vast economic potential of space resources present either an opportunity to extend the period of U.S. primacy, or the chance for a rival to end the era of U.S. strategic leadership and domain dominance.[52] The path to a preferred future starts with recognition of that future reality and the building of technical capabilities to succeed.

Military space forces must be part of a larger societal effort. To prevail, the USSF should engage with a variety of commercial stakeholders to clarify its future missions and extend its space domain awareness to the key locations in EML1 and EML2 in advance of human return to the Moon. The USSF should develop spacecraft capable of rendezvous and proximity operations for logistical resupply and it should begin now to partner with companies who are building a Cislunar footprint.

Critical enablers include efforts undertaken within the Space Vehicles directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory, which is now responsible to the USSF.[53] The directorate is leading a broad range of initiatives undertaken to ensure the widest possible freedom of action for the USSF. It is embracing the responsibilities of the joint warfighting missions while anticipating a USSPACECOM commander will one day turn to the USSF to secure the space lines of commerce.

The USSF can pave the way with technology maturation and experimental pathfinders, demonstrate vigilance and presence, and lead the way to procurement of operational systems.[54] Technology must be developed to prevent future capability gaps while ensuring independent options and U.S. freedom of action in space. Action and investment is required now to ensure United States space leadership in through 2030 and beyond and ensure the required science and technology pipeline which will enable U.S. space forces have maximum freedom of action and to ensure space security for the developing U.S. interests beyond GEO.

Captain David Buehler, USSF, is the Cislunar Tech Area & Flight Experiment Lead at Air Force Research Lab. Colonel Eric Felt, USSF, is Director of the Space Vehicles Directorate at Air Force Research Lab. Dr. Charles Finley is Cislunar Security Lead for the Center for Rapid Innovation at Air Force Research Lab. Peter Garretson is a Strategic Planning Engineer for Apogee Engineering. Dr. Jaime Stearns is Space Control Mission Lead at Air Force Research Lab. Dr. Andy Williams is Deputy Capability Lead for Space Superiority at Air Force Research Lab. This paper represents solely the authors’ views and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of any Department or Agency of the U.S. Government. If you have a different perspective, we’d like to hear from you.

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NOTES

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  3. U.S. Space Force, Spacepower: Doctrine for Space Forces, Headquarters United States Space ForceJune 2020, p. 35, accessed August 12, 2020, https://www.spaceforce.mil/Portals/1/Space%20Capstone%20Publication_10%20Aug%202020.pdf
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  5. U.S. Space Force, Spacepower: Doctrine for Space Forces, Headquarters United States Space ForceJune 2020, accessed August 12, 2020, https://www.spaceforce.mil/Portals/1/Space%20Capstone%20Publication_10%20Aug%202020.pdf
  6. National Space Policy of the United States of America, The White House, December 9, 2020, accessed December 21, 2020
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  16. The Artemis Accords are an initiative by NASA to create a series of bilateral diplomatic agreements for participants in the Artemis program which establish common principles, including the use of space resources. See: NASA, “Artemis Accords,” NASA.gov, May 15, 2020, accessed September 1, 2020, https://www.nasa.gov/specials/artemis-accords/index.html
  17. The executive order expresses the U.S. intent to partner with “commercial entities to recover and use resources, including water and certain minerals, in outer space” and ensure Americans “have the right to engage in commercial exploration, recovery, and use of resources in outer space, consistent with applicable law,”; The White House, “Executive Order on Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources,” April 6, 2020, accessed April 9, 2020, https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-encouraging-international-support-recovery-use-space-resources/
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  19. Chelsea Gohd, “Water on the moon is more common than we thought, studies reveal,” Space.com, October 26, 2020, accessed November 3, 2020, https://www.space.com/water-on-moon-shadow-cold-traps-discovery
  20. UBS, “Longer Term Investments Space,” UBS.com, November 30, 2018 Accessed December 12, 2020, https://www.ubs.com/content/dam/WealthManagementAmericas/documents/space-p.pdf
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  23. Brian Higgenbotham , “The Space Economy: An Industry Takes Off,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce, November 11, 2018, accessed January 30, 2019, at https://www.uschamber.com/series/above-the-fold/the-space-economy-industry-takes
  24. Michael Sheetz , “The space industry will be worth nearly $3 trillion in 30 years, Bank of America predicts,” CNBC, October 31, 2017, accessed January 30, 2019, https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/31/the-space-industry-will-be-worth-nearly-3-trillion-in-30-years-bank-of-america-predicts.html
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  26. Wilbur Ross, “A New Space Race: Getting to the Trillion-Dollar Space Economy World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland,” Commerce Department, January 24, 2020, accessed February 21, 2020, https://www.commerce.gov/news/speeches/2020/01/remarks-secretary-commerce-wilbur-ross-new-space-race-getting-trillion-dollar
  27. Wilbur Ross, “A Bright Future for U.S. Leadership of Space Commerce,” Commerce.gov, February 21, 2018, accessed September 1, 2020, https://www.commerce.gov/news/speeches/2018/02/secretary-ross-bright-future-us-leadership-space-commerce
  28. Wilbur Ross, “Remarks by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross at the Sixth National Space Council Meeting,” Commerce.gov, August 20, 2019, Accessed September 1, 2020, https://www.commerce.gov/news/speeches/2019/08/remarks-us-commerce-secretary-wilbur-l-ross-sixth-national-space-council
  29. Jeff Bezos (Blue Origin), Elon Musk (SpaceX), and Tory Bruno (United Launch Alliance) have been strong advocates space industrialization.
  30. Bernard F. Kutter and George F. Sowers, “Cislunar-1000: Transportation supporting a self-sustaining Space Economy,” ULA, AIAA Space 2016, available at AIAA, accessed March 11, 2019, https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/10.2514/6.2016-5491; FAST SPACE: Leveraging Ultra low-cost Space Access for 21st Century Challenges, Air University, January 13, 2017, accessed August 1, 2019, https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/Portals/10/Research/Space-Horizons/documents/Fast%20Space_Public_2017.pdf; Jerry Hendrix and Michelle Shevin-Coetzee, From Blue to Black: Applying Sea Power to the Ocean of Space, Center for a New American Security (CNAS), November 1, 2016, accessed November 3, 2020, https://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep06246?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents ; Jerry Hendrix and Adam Routh, A Space Policy for the Trump Administration, CNAS, October 2017, accessed November 3, 2020, https://www.law.upenn.edu/live/files/7815-a-space-policy-for-the-trump-administrationpdf; Spencer Kaplan, Eyes on the Prize The Strategic Implications of Cislunar Space and the Moon, CSIS, July 14, 2020, accessed November 3, 2020, http://aerospace.csis.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/20200714_Kaplan_Cislunar_FINAL.pdf;James A. Vedda, Cislunar Development: What To Build—And Why, The Aerospace Corporation, April 2018, accessed March 11, 2019, https://aerospace.org/sites/default/files/2018-05/CislunarDevelopment.pdf; George E. Pollock IV and James A. Vedda, Cislunar Stewardship: Planning for Sustainability and International Cooperation, The Aerospace Corporation, June 2020, accessed November 3, 2020, https://aerospace.org/sites/default/files/2020-06/Pollock-Vedda_CislunarStewardship_20200601.pdf
  31. U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, 2019 Report to Congress, November 2019, accessed February 10, 2020, https://www.uscc.gov/sites/default/files/2019-11/Chapter%204%20Section%203%20-%20China%E2%80%99s%20Ambitions%20in%20Space%20-%20Contesting%20the%20Final%20Frontier.pdf
  32. Air Force Space Command, The Future of Space 2060 and Implications for U.S. Strategy: Report on the Space Futures Workshop, September 5, 2019, p.4 & 17, accessed February 10, 2020, https://www.afspc.af.mil/Portals/3/documents/Future%20of%20Space%202060%20v2%20(5%20Sep).pdf?ver=2019-09-06-184933-230 with an graphically updated version released on 3 October 2019 at: https://www.afspc.af.mil/Portals/3/The%20Future%20of%20Space%202060%20-%203Oct19.pdf
  33. Air Force Space Command, The Future of Space 2060 and Implications for U.S. Strategy: Report on the Space Futures Workshop, September 5, 2019, p.4 & 17, accessed February 10, 2020, https://www.afspc.af.mil/Portals/3/documents/Future%20of%20Space%202060%20v2%20(5%20Sep).pdf?ver=2019-09-06-184933-230 with an graphically updated version released on 3 October 2019 at: https://www.afspc.af.mil/Portals/3/The%20Future%20of%20Space%202060%20-%203Oct19.pdf
  34. Air Force Space Command, The Future of Space 2060 and Implications for U.S. Strategy: Report on the Space Futures Workshop, September 5, 2019, accessed February 10, 2020, https://www.afspc.af.mil/Portals/3/documents/Future%20of%20Space%202060%20v2%20(5%20Sep).pdf?ver=2019-09-06-184933-230 with an graphically updated version released on 3 October 2019 at: https://www.afspc.af.mil/Portals/3/The%20Future%20of%20Space%202060%20-%203Oct19.pdf
  35. Steven J. Butow, Thomas Cooley, Eric Felt, and Joel B. Mozer, State Of The Space Industrial Base 2020: A Time For Action To Sustain US Economic & Military Leadership In Space Summary Report, Department of Defense, July 2020, accessed August 3, 2020, https://cdn.afresearchlab.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/27223753/State-of-the-Space-Industrial-Base-2020-Report_July-2020_FINAL.pdf
  36. For an in-depth treatment of these trends, see: Namrata Goswami and Peter Garretson, Scramble for the Skies: The Great Power Competition to Control the Resources of Outer Space (Landham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2020).
  37. Guoyu Wang, “NASA’s Artemis Accords: the path to a united space law or a divided one?,” The Space Review, August 24, 2020, accessed August 28, 2020, https://www.thespacereview.com/article/4009/1
  38. Sean McClain, Celestial Sentinels: A Framework For Cislunar Space Domain Awareness In 2035, Air Command and Staff College (Air University), March 2020.
  39. The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission recommended that Congress should: “Ensure U.S. Space Command and any future space-oriented service are responsible for protecting freedom of navigation and keeping lines of communication open, safe, and secure in the space domain, as the U.S. Navy does for U.S. interests in the maritime commons.”; U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, 2019 Report to Congress, November 2019, accessed February 10, 2020, https://www.uscc.gov/sites/default/files/2019-11/Chapter%204%20Section%203%20-%20China%E2%80%99s%20Ambitions%20in%20Space%20-%20Contesting%20the%20Final%20Frontier.pdf; Dr. Mir Sadat of the National Security Council stated, “It will be the U.S. Space Force which will provide the necessary expertise for the U.S. Space Command to ensure unfettered access to and the freedom to operate within spacejust as…the U.S. Navy stands watch to ensure that we freely navigate the world’s seas.”; Transcript: U.S. Space Strategy and Indo-Pacific Cooperation from Patrick M. Cronin, Masashi Murano & H.R. McMaster, “Space Strategy in the Indo-Pacific,” Hudson Institute, November 13, 2019, accessed March 3, 2020, https://www.hudson.org/research/15481-transcript-u-s-space-strategy-and-indo-pacific-cooperation; Dr. Scott Pace, National Space Council Secretary: “U.S. private sector must have confidence that it will be able to profit from capital investments made to develop and utilize in-situ resources, commercial infrastructure, and facilities in outer space. Furthermore, certain types of rights and obligations typically associated with exclusive use and private property are needed. In 2015, the United States took an important step with the enactment of the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act. This Act provides that U.S. citizens are entitled to own, as private property, asteroid and space resources they have obtained in accordance with applicable law, including our international obligations” and that “U.S. Government, working with its space partners and the private sector, should use legal and diplomatic means to create a stable, peaceful environment not only for governmental activities, but also for commercial ones. These legal and diplomatic means include efforts to minimize and mitigate harmful interference to our space systems, whether from terrestrial actors or from space actors. In addition to the UN Charter and other applicable law, such as the right of self-defense, several provisions of the Outer Space Treaty provide legal principles that would be applied toward these ends.”; Scott Pace, “Space Development, Law, and Values” [IISL Galloway Space Law Symposium Cosmos Club, Washington, D.C.], December 13, 2017, August 1, 2019, https://spacepolicyonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Scott-Pace-to-Galloway-FINAL.pdf; The DIU-AFRL-USSF “State of the Industrial Base 2020 report called on the USSF to play “an increased role in America’s return to the Moon (such as providing safety of navigation services),”as well as to emulate the US Navy’s role in assuring the maritime domain” to drive commercial confidence for a more rapid expansion of US space entrepreneurial activity. It also stated, “As part of its mission, the USSF should articulate its role to secure commerce and protect civil infrastructure in the space domain. This examination should consider the degree to which this role should emulate the US Navy role in assuring the maritime domain. Clarity on this issue will drive commercial confidence for a more rapid expansion of US space entrepreneurial activity. When implementing this part of its mission, the USSF should examine an increased role in America’s return to the Moon (such as providing safety of navigation services) and expanded opportunities for partnerships with companies to develop prototypes, to procure operational product services, and to sponsor new competition.” From Steven J. Butow, Thomas Cooley, Eric Felt, and Joel B. Mozer, State Of The Space Industrial Base 2020: A Time For Action To Sustain US Economic & Military Leadership In Space Summary Report, Department of Defense, July 2020, accessed August 3, 2020, https://cdn.afresearchlab.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/27223753/State-of-the-Space-Industrial-Base-2020-Report_July-2020_FINAL.pdf; “The U.S. military must define and execute its role in promoting, exploiting, and defending the expanded commercial, civil, and military activities and human presence in space driven by industry, NASA, and other nation-states” and “The spatial domain of operation for space systems will expand beyond GEO to potentially encompass the entire Cislunar domain with increased capability for and speed of maneuver across that domain. In addition, military actions will extend to the protection of military, civil, commercial, and human space assets. The trend is for space to become a more critical domain of potential conflict and an increasingly integral part of cross-domain conflict.” ; Air Force Space Command, The Future of Space 2060 and Implications for U.S. Strategy: Report on the Space Futures Workshop, September 5, 2019, accessed February 10, 2020, https://www.afspc.af.mil/Portals/3/documents/Future%20of%20Space%202060%20v2%20(5%20Sep).pdf?ver=2019-09-06-184933-230 with an graphically updated version released on 3 October 2019 at: https://www.afspc.af.mil/Portals/3/The%20Future%20of%20Space%202060%20-%203Oct19.pdf; They also argue: “much as the United States Navy assumed responsibility for protecting lines of commerce on the high seas, only a military force will be equipped to protect lines of commerce in space. With commercial space activities growing exponentially, and the expressed NSS of the United States, such a force is needed, and the USSF should be that force.” Dustin L Grant and Matthew J. Neil, “The Case For Space: A Legislative Framework For An Independent United States Space Force,” Air Command and Staff College Maxwell AFB United State, April 1, 2018. https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/1053020.pdf ; McClain states: “Such an economic expansion requires commercial investment and development, supported by national policies and incentives, with the military providing security against threats to U.S. and Allied interests. The most likely threats to the U.S. in the long term will be against the nation’s ability to exploit resources in space that contribute to its gross domestic product (GDP) and overall economic strength as a means of competing with other nations.”; Sean McClain, Celestial Sentinels: A Framework For Cislunar Space Domain Awareness In 2035, Air Command and Staff College (Air University), March 2020.
  40. Other examples include clearing waterways of derelict craft, dredging harbors, defusing unexploded ordinance, and maintaining canals and levees.
  41. Phrase coined by Dr. Matt Daniels after an insight provided by Dr. Simon “Pete” Worden, Brig Gen, USAF-Ret., that maneuverability changes at 100,000 km altitude above Earth, about 2.7 xGEO. Source: Conversation between Dr. Daniels and Lt Col Peter Garretson. See also, Matthew Daniels and Pete Worden, American Spaceflight, Forthcoming.
  42. “Memorandum Of Understanding Between The National Aeronautics And Space Administration And The United States Space Force,” NASA.gov, September 21, 2020, accessed September 28, 2020, https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/nasa_ussf_mou_21_sep_20.pdf
  43. In normal orbital dynamics, there are just two bodies: the Earth and the spacecraft. The influence of the Moon’s gravity introduces a ‘third body.’
  44. Familiar two-line elements work within the space dominated by the Earth’s gravity, but fall apart once a second body exerts a significant influence, requiring new software for custody (SDA), planning, and guidance and navigation. One approach is to adapt existing models to change the relevant center of gravity as spacecraft transit zones of influence. A second approach to meaningfully navigate and keep custody of objects, requires the development of vector covariance messages which provide not only the spacecraft vectors but also polynomial equations with greater precision state values which allow easy ephemeris computation over the span of weeks.
  45. Jim Bridenstine, “This is our Sputnik Moment,” OKG News, November 6, 2016, accessed March 11, 2020, https://okgrassroots.com/?p=642815
  46. The White House National Space Council, A New Era for Deep Space Exploration and Development, WhiteHouse.gov, JULY 23, 2020, p.3, accessed https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/A-New-Era-for-Space-Exploration-and-Development-07-23-2020.pdf
  47. Thomas D. Olszewski and Jericho Locke, “Potential Roles of Federal Agencies in Creating a Sustainable Presence on the Moon,” Science & Technology Policy Institute, March 2020, accessed December 21, 2020, https://www.ida.org/-/media/feature/publications/p/po/potential-roles-of-federal-agencies-in-creating-a-sustainable-presence-on-the-moon/p-12071.ashx
  48. Jeff Foust, “Eight Countries sign Artemis Accords,” Space News, October 13, 2020, accessed December 21, 2020, https://spacenews.com/eight-countries-sign-artemis-accords/
  49. In a similar manner to how Earth-based sensors track objects passing overhead in LEO, Lunar surface based sensors could detect and track objects in Lunar orbit. These sensors might look something like today’s all-sky-cams fish-eye cameras which track meteors.
  50. Sandra Erwin, “Moon patrols could be a future reality for Space Force,” Space News, November 2, 2020 accessed November 6, 2020, https://spacenews.com/moon-patrols-could-be-a-future-reality-for-the-u-s-military/ ; Joanne Perkins, “AFRL announces two new space flight experiments,” Air Force Research Laboratory / Published September 03, 2020, accessed November 6, 2020, https://www.kirtland.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2336614/afrl-announces-two-new-space-flight-experiments/
  51. Jim Bridenstine, “This is our Sputnik Moment,” OKG News, November 6, 2016, accessed March 11, 2020, https://okgrassroots.com/?p=642815
  52. Namrata Goswami and Peter Garretson, Scramble for the Skies: The Great Power Competition to Control the Resources of Outer Space (Landham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2020).
  53. Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) now services both Air Force and Space Force
  54. Building upon successes such as ANGELS and EAGLE/Mycroft, an AFRL-USSF partnership can extend USSF access and space domain awareness XGEO. See: Air Force Research Lab, “Fact Sheet Automated Navigation and Guidance Experiment for Local Space (ANGELS),” June 28, 2016, accessed April 9, 2020, https://www.kirtland.af.mil/Portals/52/documents/AFD-131204-039.pdf?ver=2016-06-28-105617-297; Air Force Research Lab, “EAGLE Experiment Aims To Improve Space Access,” January 15, 2019, accessed April 9, 2020, https://cdn.afresearchlab.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/15061719/Final-EAGLE-Fact-Sheet-5142018.pdf

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