24 thoughts on “Cislunar Space”

  1. The Primer on Cislunar Space is interesting, but doesn’t go far enough in their analysis. There’s so much more space-y goodness and advantages to EML-1 and the rest of cislunar space. I’m just glad someone is paying some real attention to it.

    1. I did some research on this, and the right word for this is probably “Circumlunar Space,” which subsumes Cis-, Peri-, and Translunar Space. Basically, everything much above GEO, inlcuding the EML points, is circumlunar.

  2. It is far past time to get some eyes, ears, and feelers up there. Who knows what interesting things will be discovered lurking just out of sight?

  3. Interesting, but I’m not sure they will have time to explore beyond GEO, what with all the focus on surveilling US citizens for white rage and white supremacy.

    Seems to me all their satellite resources will be pointed down on Americans. Reminds me of a movie plot. Captain America: Winter Soldier.

  4. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of forward-looking contingency planning, I suppose. But Space Force needs to keep its main focus on the LEO-to-GEO volume of space as that’s where all current U.S. military space assets are and, thus, where threats from hostile nations with launch capability will be concentrated. Space Force needs to aggressively address the decades of inaction by USAF anent active defense of U.S. space assets before it starts tooling up for any Tom Corbett-style adventures.

    It would take quite awhile for either Russia or China to develop any military capability in supra-GEO cis-lunar space. In Russia’s case, such a threat will almost certainly never arise. In the case of China, the PRC regime is likelier to implode in the interim than we are to eventually be seeing any Chinese military threat in cis-lunar space.

    1. I would rather the Space Force not focus on cis-GEO space, but rather consider the entirety of the operational theatre in its analysis. Assets at EML-1 and EML-3 would provide a high ground view of cis-GEO space and be far enough away to be difficult to get to sneakily. Supplement that with assets at EML-4 and EML-5 and you’re talking some pretty comprehensive coverage of near-Earth space.

      Also, EML-1 acts as an effective gateway to the Moon, with most spacecraft passing through or near that pass in the gravity mountains to get to the Moon. Do you want to be the last one to set up shop there? I do recognize that some craft don’t have the oomph to get there, and so have to wander way out in the boondocks for an NRHO asset to come get them, but I honestly have little faith in that kind of kludge solution having a long-term presence. Orbital refueling will make it unnecessary.

      Cislunar space is the next theatre of operations. Don’t keep using yesterday’s expectations to guide you in that regard.

      1. Who do you imagine is going to “set up shop” at or near EML-1 before we do?

        Cis-lunar space is not the next theater of operations. A theater of operations requires that enemy forces be present. In cis-lunar space they are not. And there is an excellent probability they never will be.

        But they are present in LEO-to-GEO space and are, for now, dangerous there. Abundant and cheap spacelift provided by Starship will soon enable us to take all sorts of countermeasures aimed at keeping this domain of space from ever becoming a “theater of operations.” That’s what Space Force needs to be spending nearly all of its resources addressing.

        1. The point is for us to be the first, even if no one else is anywhere close to beating us there. You maintain your advantage by thinking decades in advance, not days.

          1. Not if “decades in advance” comes at the expense of “days.” Failing to think about the here-and-now is a good way to guarantee you won’t have any “decades in advance” to worry about.

            The F-35 was a “decades in advance” notion. And it took more than two decades to actualize. How good a piece of advanced planning do you think that has turned out to be? How much better do you think any near-term “advanced planning” for space war in cis-lunar space in the 2040s and 50s is going to be?

            Space Force has decades of dereliction by USAF to make up for. It needs to stick to its knitting and try to learn from SpaceX how to do things quickly and incrementally instead of continuing to have the minimum length of a development program be a quarter-century.

          2. Reading for comprehension: “Military considerations will of course follow”. Not precede. And don’t discount the potential for commercial threats. Things like sabotage and espionage are not uncommon. One of my classmates at ISU did his mandatory government service faxing legal documents back home during a corporate internship at Prudential. The need for security is more than just military.

            Regarding global iron production. Your reductio ad absurdum argument is nonsense. I never said that we had to immediately shift global production to the Moon. Also, try to think multi-dimensionally. Have you considered that payloads could be formed into lifting bodies and dropped into the middle of the desert?

            “ One thing this exchange has made abundantly clear is that arrogant but credulous people such as yourself should never be allowed within a country mile of any actual exercise in long-range planning.”.

            The arrogance comes from an in-depth knowledge of the Moon and Cislunar space, with the library to back it up. Maybe PhD level, but certainly Masters level. As for the long-range planners we have now, they’re really doing a super job now aren’t they? Lol.

        2. Historically, “theater of operations” is a military term naming an area of combat operations. However, I don’t see any reason for the term not to evolve to also refer to some types of areas of operation not including combat. It’s just too apt a term. Unless you have a better term? “Area of operations” for non-combat ops? The actual meanings of the simple English terms are pretty much identical since the word “operations” does not refer only to military operations. Even “military operations” isn’t uniquely “combat operations”. It all seems to be distinctions without any useful meanings to me. I’m fine with having civilian theaters of operations as well as purely military combat ops.

          1. Exactly! My main consideration is consideration of cislunar space is as a commercial theatre of operations (q.v. my Cislunar Econosphere article from back in the day), with recognition of a strong non-military governmental interest in cislunar space as a theatre of operations as well. Military considerations will of course follow as they try to figure out how to safeguard commercial and governmental interests in that theatre of operations.

            I used the term specifically to be inclusive of a broad range of activities and agendas. I also acknowledge that part of my bias is my well-researched belief that cislunar space will be the next area to develop commercially in trans-GEO space, certainly well-before Mars or other parts of cis-Arean space. Especially as increasing awareness develops of the energy and material resources of our Moon, and how the transfer of industry off-planet will enable environmental remediation here on Earth.

            Because in the end, the -only- reason humanity has ever really gone over that next hill is to find more and better firewood (energy) and more and better clay for making pots (material resources). Our Moon offers both in abundance, and eventually someone’s village elders are going to realize that and act accordingly. We (here I speak of my tribe, the U.S.) can plan and act now, or react later.

          2. I won’t argue semantics. But it’s worth pointing out that cis-lunar space is not like “Injun Country” in 19th century America or sea commerce at any time. Cis-lunar commerce will require no protection until and unless “hostiles” either appear from Earth or evolve in situ. I do not judge the likelihood of the former as very high and the likelihood of the latter as lower still for at least the next several decades. Not worth more than a smidgen of attention by Space Force in the near-to-medium-term.

          3. Mr. Murphy,

            Once more, an absence of hostiles equals an absence of any need to “protect” commerce in cis-lunar space.

            I yield to no one in my support of a strong military defense where one is needed. But cis-lunar space is emphatically not such a place. And there is an excellent chance it never will be. I do not support useless military expenditure just to give the armed forces or legacy military contractors something to do.

            Given that SpaceX will be the main driver of both, I see cis-lunar commerce developing very much in parallel with cis-Arean commerce. On what basis do you believe otherwise?

            The Bezos-ian notion, to which you apparently subscribe, that lunar heavy industry will, or even can, replace that of Earth is – how to put this nicely? – complete and utter bullshit. Anyone who buys into this dippy fairy tale simply has no grasp of the actual scale of terrestrial heavy industry.

            That isn’t to say lunar heavy industry won’t eventually also be very large – it will. Probably bigger than Earth’s at some point. But its outputs will be used almost exclusively on the Moon itself or in cis-lunar or other parts of space, not on Earth.

            A little homework assignment for you:

            1) Look up the annual output of the entire terrestrial iron and steel industry in metric tons.

            2) Tell us all how trying to re-enter and land such a mass on Earth annually won’t have enormously greater environmental impacts on Earth than the terrestrial iron and steel industry does now.

            One thing this exchange has made abundantly clear is that arrogant but credulous people such as yourself should never be allowed within a country mile of any actual exercise in long-range planning.

  5. You cannot have a Space Corps without Space Cadets, including the spacey space cadets at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and their anxiously awaited report on UAPs, the politically correct term for UFOs.


    The classify UAPs into 1) birds, balloons and the neighbor’s kid’s drone, 2) atmospheric phenomena producing odd radar returns, 3) “our” secret programs, 4) “their” (China, Russia) secret programs and 5) stuff we just can’t explain.

    Their excuse for the stuff we just can’t explain is we lack to “resources” to explain it. In other words, give us more taxpayer money.

    I mean, its like, no stuff, Sherlock!

    I was hoping they would ask for a Moon base staffed by women in silver jump suits and purple wigs?

    1. Moon base staffed by women in silver jump suits and purple wigs?

      They will, but the question of whether they are biological females or the “modern kind” is still yet to be answered.

  6. “While cislunar literally means “between,” I think it would include five the Lagrange points, not just L-1.”
    Moon/Earth, L-2 is not mentioned much- I guess because the point [rather than orbits around the point] is blocking communication to Earth. But no one mentions L-3, though not sure what use of the part lunar orbit on opposite side of Moon. And L-4/5 are good if want to be at the point- though being in orbit about the point should work also. Maybe L4/5 would be someplace to beam energy.
    How far is point from Moon? 60 degree being 1/6th the length lunar orbital path
    Semimajor axis (10^6 km) 0.3844
    times 2 = 0.7688 times pi = 2.415254392 and / 6 = 0.40254239
    402,542 km to center of moon. A far distance to Moon.
    But if could beam light or something else effectively to a distance 2 million km, one has coverage in entire Earth/Moon gravity well.
    And have the two points, more complete coverage and could add the two beamed energy source- or average.
    And add to complexity of considering some kind orbit rather just from to point. Though it seems orbit might only get about 100,000 km closer to Moon and/or have orbit which does something about inclination of orbital path. Maybe be good in regards to the use ion engines. Might beam microwave power to telescopes in Earth/Sun L-2? Both won’t be blocked. The amount power doesn’t have much, and could “more about” communication signal- but information more about that which is coming from the telescopes than data received. But what if had million telescopes using the L-2 space?
    So Earth radio telescope can beam power {radar} and similar thing in L-4/5 but bigger and less massive. Is there better spot to put such things?

    1. I would think “lunar space” should include those points since three of five them are closer to the moon than anything else, and the other two are meaningless except in reference to the the moon.

    1. I have a copy of that songbook. I think it’s closer to 40 years old than 30. It just doesn’t get any better than Julia Ecklar or Leslie Fish.

  7. Cislunar space? Obviously the Space Force is transphobic.

    There isn’t actually a right word for the whole of near-eath space. Cis-, Trans-, and Peri- are all of lunar regional space.

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