The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released the first National Cislunar Science and Technology (S&T) Strategy on Nov. 17, outlining how U.S. S&T leadership will support responsible exploration and use of Cislunar space.
If you’re not familiar with Cislunar space, the White House defines it as “the large region of space in the Earth-Moon system beyond geosynchronous (GEO) orbit, including the Moon.”
The new strategy was developed by the Cislunar Technology Strategy Interagency Working Group of the National Science and Technology Council, and it builds on the Biden administration’s 2021 Space Priorities Framework.
Member agencies of the working group include NASA, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Departments of Defense, Energy, State, and Commerce. Along with OSTP, the National Security Council, National Space Council, and Office of Management and Budget are also members.
“The decade ahead is critically important for exploration of Cislunar space, including the Lunar surface,” the White House said in a fact sheet on the strategy. “NASA estimates that over the next ten years, human activity in Cislunar space will be equal to or exceed all that has occurred in this region since the Space Age began in 1957.”
Cislunar space also offers opportunities to answer key planetary science questions, explore the history of our solar system, and could catalyze a new generation of radio astronomy with its radio-quiet environments, according to the White House.
OSTP outlines four key objectives of the strategy, which are: support research and development to enable long-term growth in Cislunar space; expand international S&T cooperation in Cislunar space; extend U.S. space situational awareness capabilities into Cislunar space; and implement Cislunar communications and positioning, navigation, and timing capabilities with scalable and interoperable approaches.
The strategy will serve as a guide to the policymaking process and “provide an early common vision for agencies and collaborators to coordinate on Cislunar activities.”