DARPA moon train heralds heated race for lunar supremacy – Asia Times

DARPA moon train heralds heated race for lunar supremacy - Asia Times

A lunar railway system is being planned by Northrop Grumman and the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ( DARPA ), launching a new era of space-based military operations, exploration, and economic development.

Defense News reported this month that DARPA and the US defence contractor are working together to build a moon-based rail system to help the transportation of people, goods, and solutions for business purposes and promote a space market for the US and its foreign partners.

Defense News notes that the work of Northrop Grumman does concentrate on identifying the connections, resources, and financing required to create for a network as well as the technical and operational risks. According to the report, the private company may even suggest prototypes of the lunar rail system to see how it might be constructed and operated.

The project is a part of DARPA’s Lunar Architecture Capability Study ( LunA-10 ), which aims to identify the fundamental technologies required to build the moon’s infrastructure.

Northrop Grumman was one of the 14 companies that DARPA selected last December to look into ideas for a 2035-focused solar business. The study comes as the United States, its international associates, and business organizations consider how the sun will look in the future.

According to Defense News, the US Space Force is developing plans to establish a Space Futures Command to test innovative ideas and new missions. This is in addition to the US Space Force’s growing interest in the military’s use of sky missions.

According to the cause, the CISLunar operate at Space Futures Command will be focused on determining whether military-related operations take place there.

In a March 2022 Politico content, Bryan Bender mentions some potential proper uses of the moon, including domain knowledge, solar outposts, cislunar area security and resources. According to the report, a solar train may be useful in putting into practice tasks to achieve those objectives.

Without being quickly identified by typical place tracking techniques, the sun may also function as a foundation for deploying weapons and aircraft. These objectives might include the rollout of weaponry designed to track and eliminate aircraft and satellites in orbit.

In line with those goals, Bender claims that the US Space Force will create technologies to improve the ability to track and interpret events that occur outside of Earth’s orbit.

As part of the Oracle spacecraft program, the US Air Force Research Laboratory ( AFRL ) awarded Advanced Space LLC a US$ 72 million contract in November 2022.

The project’s objectives are to develop new technology to locate objects that have never been previously recognized, identify smaller or distant objects, and research spacecraft’s positioning and navigation in space beyond the geostationary orbit of the moon. The US Space Force and US Space Command are known as XGEO, which is ten times their normal operating range.

The US Space Surveillance Network now makes use of a number of sensors on Earth and in regular orbit, quite as GEO. On the other hand, Oracle’s function may be situated near the Earth- sun Lagrange Point 1, covering a distance of approximately 320, 000 km.

Additionally, the US Air Force reported in December 2023 that the Oracle project consists of two systems, Oracle M and Oracle P. Oracle M is a near-term, low-cost deep space mobility pathfinder that will be delivered in mid-2020. Oracle P is a purpose-built cislunar space situational awareness ( SSA ) experiment that demonstrates the ability to search for and keep custody of known objects. A launch is planned for 2027, and shipping is anticipated in 2026.

Bender argues that the moon does function as a space station, demonstrating the strategic value of maintaining solar territory for both economic and military purposes.

Asia Times reported in January 2022 that China and Russia had made the decision to set up a joint sun center earlier than planned and with a 2027 completion date in mind. The International Lunar Research Station ( ILRS ) will have a number of different scientific facilities that will enable the development of moon technology and lunar research. These facilities will also support the conducting of moon research experiments.

But, the 2027 day appears to have been delayed. China intends to establish the Chang’e 8 lunar exploration vision in 2028 as the first step toward developing the ILRS, testing technologies for local tools, and manufacturing using 3D printers.

However, Forbes reported this month that China and Russia are considering a joint nuclear power plant on the planet’s area within the next decade, according to Yuri Borisov, public chairman of Russia’s Roscosmos storage company.

The Forbes review notes that the task, intended for celestial towns, is expected to be completed between 2033 and 2035. The plant’s development will likely be automated, as it must be done without animal existence. Additionally, it states that nuclear power is necessary because current solar panels did n’t produce enough energy.

According to Forbes, NASA and the US Department of Energy are also working on plans to set up a nuclear power plant on the sun in the early 2030s. Bender points out the moon’s financial possible, citing DARPA’s NOM4D initiative, which explores in- place production using materials launched from Earth.

The sun is believed to have significant resources such as silicon, unique earth metals, titanium, aluminum, water, valuable metals and Helium- 3. The long-term lunar presence technology may have potential commercial applications in the future.

NASA proposed the construction of the gaseous oxygen pipeline L-SPoP, which would be located at the moon’s South Pole, in January 2023. The pipeline will use on-site resources to revolutionize lunar surface operations for the US Artemis program and lower costs and risks.

A 5-kilometer pipeline carrying oxygen gas from a source of oxygen production to an oxygen storage/liquefication facility close to a lunar base is the idea’s starting point.

A US space startup called Interlune announced plans to mine lunar regolith for Helium-3 this month, according to IEEE Spectrum. A layer of loose, varied, and unconsolidated surface deposits covers solid bedrock.

IEEE Spectrum notes that Helium- 3 is a strategic resource that is used in neutron detectors to detect smuggled nuclear material, a cryogenic coolant for quantum computing, a less- radioactive material for medical imaging, and, in the future, a possible fuel for fusion nuclear reactors.

Interlune envisions using seven-meter-long solar-powered robotic vehicles to extract lunar Helium 3 and separate the regolith from the Helium-3. The spacecraft would then transport the Helium-3 gas to a waiting spacecraft, who would then transport it back to Earth with a tens of kilograms of useful gas.