Space Industry Report Extends Geopolitics Out to the Moon

August 24, 2020                              (larouchepub.com)

• Last May, the US Space Force and Air Force Research Laboratory held a ‘space industrial workshop’ with 120 experts in government, industry, and academia. This resulted in a report released in July entitled: “State of the Space Industrial Base”, an unofficial assessment of industrial base supporting the US military in space.

• The report confirms a previous determination made in the National Security Strategy of 2017 that identified Russia and China as “strategic adversaries” of the United States. According to the 2017 report, “China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity.” In this new report, Space Force chief, General John Raymond, writes in the forward that this viewpoint extends directly into space.

• The new report also cites a 2019 report from the Air Force Space Command entitled: “The Future of Space 2060 and Implications for U.S. Strategy” stating that “China is executing a long-term civil, commercial, and military strategy to explore and economically develop the cislunar domain with the explicit aim of displacing the US as the leading space power. Other nations are developing similar national strategies.”

• According to the report, China plans to “lure U.S. allies and partners away from U.S.-led space initiatives, through its Belt and Road Initiative and plans for an Earth Moon Economic Zone” worth $10 trillion. Through this initiative, China intends to become the leading, global/space super-power by 2049, displacing the US in that role.

• The report predicts that “the first nation to establish transportation infrastructure and logistics capabilities serving GEO and cislunar space will have superior ability to exercise control of cislunar space and in particular the Lagrange points and the resources of the Moon.” “The job of the US Space Force is to provide “security and a stabilizing military presence” for the U.S. economic presence in this zone.”

• The report goes on to suggest that the US Air Force “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 U.S. space entrepreneurial activity.” It urges the USAF to have “an increased role in America’s return to the Moon” and its planetary defense could ‘accelerate America’s edge in asteroid mining and in-space transportation.”

• “The U.S. should develop a guiding national vision for long-term space industrialization and national space development to catalyze whole-of-nation efforts and enable the United States to compete and win now and into the future,” says the report. This would include providing safety of navigation services, secure commerce, and protect civil infrastructure in the space domain in order to foster opportunities for partnerships with companies to develop prototypes and to procure operational product services.

• The report concludes that the US Space Force needs to continue the “space leadership created by recent policy and organizational advances …as space activities expand beyond geosynchronous orbit.”

[Editor’s Note]   What these studies and reports do not take into account is the fact that the United States military has had operational space fleets, using extraterrestrial propulsion technology, since the US Navy’s Solar Warden was deployed in the 1980s. Since then, the Air Force and NASA have both deployed their own secret space program fleets of advanced spacecraft and cislunar platforms. Other nations including China and Russia have done the same. So the real exopolitical space strategies go far beyond the alarmist geopolitical scare tactics found in these reports.

 

The report “State of the Space Industrial Base,” released last week by the Defense Innovation Unit, the U.S. Space Force, and the Air Force Research Laboratory, is, in effect, the space annex to the National Security Strategy of 2017. That document defines Russia and China as strategic adversaries of the United States. “China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity,” it claims on page 2. That outlook is extended directly into the space domain by this report, writes Gen. John Raymond, chief of the U.S. Space Force, in the foreword to the document.

   Space Force General John Raymond

The report itself flowed out of a space industrial base workshop that met in New Mexico in May and brought together 120 experts in government, industry, and academia; but the report that they produced is not an official policy document. Rather, it’s an assessment of the state of the industrial base along with a set of recommendations. Nonetheless, “it is important that we listen to these insights and evaluate the feasibility of implementing them in the advancement of national interests. America’s future in space is a partnership and, as with any partnership, communication is key,” Raymond writes.

In the introduction, the report cites an assessment produced by Air Force Space Command in 2019 entitled “The Future of Space 2060 and Implications for U.S. Strategy,” which itself was the product of yet another workshop. That report, among other things, complains that “China is executing a long-term civil, commercial, and military strategy to explore and economically develop the cislunar domain with the explicit aim of displacing the U.S. as the leading space power. Other nations are developing similar national strategies.”

“The U.S. is not alone in planning to return humans to the Moon or expanding the use of space,” the space industrial report says.

“China has announced its intention to do so by 2035. China 22 is committed and credible in its pledge to become the leading, global super-power, to include space, by 2049 marking the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic. A key component of China’s strategy is to displace the U.S. as the leading power in space and lure U.S. allies and partners away from U.S.-led space initiatives, through its Belt and Road Initiative and plans for an Earth Moon Economic Zone.”

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US Military Sees Great Power Competition for Lunar Resources

Article by Sandra Erwin                                August 20, 2020                                   (aerospace.csis.org)

• What nations do in space will frame any future international space law, says General Steven Butow, director of the space portfolio at the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), a DoD organization in Silicon Valley that works with private commercial vendors developing technologies relevant to national security. Said Butow, “One of the things we don’t want is to let our competitors and adversaries go out and establish the precedent of how things are going to be done in the solar system, starting with the Moon.”

• The Pentagon is concerned about the possibility that China will establish a presence on the Moon and will try to set the international rules of behavior in space. The issue was raised in a “State of the Space Industrial Base Report 2020” published last month by DIU, the Air Force Research Laboratory, and the U.S. Space Force. “As space activities expand beyond geosynchronous orbit, the first nation to establish transportation infrastructure and logistics capabilities serving GEO and cislunar space will have superior ability to exercise control of cislunar space and in particular the Lagrange points and the resources of the Moon,” the report said.

• Control of lunar resources such as hydrogen and oxygen for propellant will be key to “enable overall space commercial development.” And “China has a grand strategy for this,” said Butow. China’s space strategy integrates government, industry and academia. So in order to compete, the United States has to figure out how to marshal the resources of the private sector in a free market economy. The DIU intends to leveraging public private partnerships to our strategic advantage.

• Cislunar space development is likely to be a “hybrid” effort funded both by government and industry. DIU has funded about $200 million worth of space projects with commercial companies that resulted in an additional $2.5 billion in private investment poured into those projects. “We can leverage a lot of that private investment without putting a burden on programs of record which can only be done by the government,” said Butow.

• Brent Sherwood of the private aerospace manufacturer Blue Origin, cautioned that the US government will need to be a stable customer to anchor private businesses contributing to industry in space and on the Moon. But as yet, no one has yet come up with a product that could be generated on the Moon that would add enough value into the terrestrial economy to get private investors to bankroll lunar operations, Sherwood said. NASA selected Blue Origin’s “national team”, which includes Draper, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, to receive a $579 million NASA contract to design vehicles to land humans on the Moon in 2024 under NASA’s Artemis program.

• “We need government to explore and develop the fundamentals,” said Sherwood. “Then we can determine what are the commercial drivers that would cause investment in growth.” “[A]t the beginning there are too many unknowns.” But NASA, other government agencies and the private sector will have to start developing the logistics infrastructure to reach cislunar space and establish a human presence there. Lots of new technologies, such as communications and navigation systems, will be needed to operate there.

• The DIU-led report says US participation in a cislunar economy “will require security and a stabilizing military presence.” The responsibility will fall on the US Space Force to provide “surveillance, aids to navigation, and help when required.”

 

WASHINGTON — The competition for the moon between the Unites States and China is being closely watched by the Defense Department as the military expects to play a role protecting U.S. access to cislunar space.

              General Steven Butow

One concern for the Pentagon is the possibility that China establishes a presence on the moon before the United States and tries to set the international rules of behavior in space, said Brig. Gen. Steven Butow, director of the space portfolio at the Defense Innovation Unit.

DIU is a Defense Department organization based in Silicon Valley that works with commercial vendors developing technologies relevant to national security.

“Competition is a good thing, but hopefully there’ll be opportunities for cooperative uses of space,” Butow said on Wednesday at the Ascend virtual conference hosted by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Laws are set by precedent, said Butow. What nations do in space will frame any future international space law, he added. “One of the things we don’t want is to let our competitors and adversaries go out and establish the precedent of how things are going to be done in the solar system, starting with the moon.”

      Brent Sherwood

The issue was raised in a “state of the space industrial base” report published last month by DIU, the Air Force Research Laboratory and the U.S. Space Force.

“As space activities expand beyond geosynchronous orbit, the first nation to establish transportation infrastructure and logistics capabilities serving GEO and cislunar space will have superior ability to exercise control of cislunar space and in particular the Lagrange points and the resources of the moon,” the report said.

Control of lunar resources such as hydrogen and oxygen for propellant, the report said, will be key to “enable overall space commercial development.”
“China has a grand strategy for this,” said Butow.

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White House Report Outlines Strategy for Space Exploration and Development

Article by Jeff Foust                                   July 23, 2020                                 (spacenews.com)

• On July 23rd, the White House released a new National Space Council report entitled, “A New Era for Deep Space Exploration and Development”, which outlines how various government agencies, as well as international and commercial partners, will play a role in implementing a national space policy to include a return to the Moon and human missions to Mars.

• The report, requested in August 2019 by Vice President Mike Pence as chairman of the National Space Council, builds on an existing ‘SPD 1’ policy directive and a 2018 National Space Strategy which calls for a sustainable return to the Moon and “peace through strength in the space domain.” It’s not just about NASA or Space Force. It’s about an integrated approach to space exploration and development.

• Space exploration strategy will focus on three major functions: a) commercializing low Earth orbit activities; b) creating a permanently occupied Moon base; and c) sending humans to Mars.

• To accomplish this, the report identifies five roles for the government: a) to create a “secure” space environment with space traffic management; b) support commercial activities in space; c) fund the research and development of key space technologies; d) back space-related scientific activities; and e) being a “reliable customer” to the private space industry by investing in space infrastructure.

• The report outlines how existing policies will be implemented by NASA and other government agencies such as the Departments of Commerce, Defense and Transportation. Providing an idea of how the US government should proceed in the development of space should prove useful when forming international partnerships. “This is hopefully a useful communications tool for dialogue with other space agencies, expressing strategic intent,” said one government official.

• A ‘Users’ Advisory Group’ argued for more attention to academia in the strategy, which was later incorporated into the report. NASA feedback led to more discussion about ‘Low Earth Orbit’ commercialization.

• But the report warns against moving ahead too quickly. “Some people argue that humanity is destined to develop space settlements and become a ‘multi-planetary species,’” the report states. But in order to develop space commerce and habitation, we first need to develop both the technical knowledge of the use of space resources as well as economic rationales to sustain such settlements. “At present, we do not yet know if any of these conditions are possible,” the report concludes.

 

WASHINGTON — A new National Space Council report argues that the exploration and development of space must be an integrated effort that involves not just NASA but other government agencies, as well as international and commercial partners.

The report, “A New Era for Deep Space Exploration and Development,” released July 23 by the White House, is intended to outline how various government agencies will play a role in implementing national space policies, including a human return to the moon and eventual human missions to Mars.

   Vice President Mike Pence

“Although NASA is, and will remain, the primary United States Government entity for civil space exploration efforts, other departments and agencies have increasingly important roles to play in space,” the report states.

The report builds on existing policies, in particular Space Policy Directive (SPD) 1, which called for a sustainable return to the moon led by NASA with various partners, as well as a 2018 National Space Strategy, a broader space policy document that called for “peace through strength in the space domain.”

A senior administration official, speaking on background, said that the new report was intended to emphasize an integrated approach to space exploration and development. “A lot of people weren’t aware of how our approach on space was not just about NASA, not just about Space Force,” the official said. “The point of the report was to build on SPD-1 and also to paint a whole-of-government picture about what we were doing.”

The report describes three major areas of effort in that overall space exploration strategy: commercializing low Earth orbit activities, returning humans to the moon permanently and then sending humans to Mars. Those elements, the report says, also support science and education.

To carry out that strategy, the report identifies five major roles for government: promoting a “secure and predictable” space environment that involves both addressing space traffic management as well as regulatory reforms, supporting commercial activities in space, funding research and development of key space technologies, investing in private space infrastructure by being a “reliable customer” and backing space-related scientific activities.

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