The United States Space Force is working to extend its space surveillance to cover areas surrounding the Moon. In a recently released video detailing the plans, the Air Force Research Laboratory said it is necessary to monitor the space around the Moon as the traffic between Earth and its only natural satellite increases in the coming years.
“Until now, the United States space mission extended 22,000 miles above Earth,” a narrator says in the video. “That was then, this is now. The Air Force Research Laboratory is extending that range by 10 times and the operations area of the United States by 1,000 times, taking our reach to the far side of the Moon into cislunar space.”
The video explained how the agency wants to send a satellite dubbed the Cislunar Highway Patrol System to monitor any manmade objects that could threaten other satellites or spaceships traveling to and from the Moon.
“It’s the first step for them to be able to know what’s going on in cislunar space and then identify any potential threats to U.S. activities,” Brian Weeden, director of program planning for the nonprofit Secure World Foundation, told Ars Technica.
AFRL plans to begin accepting “prototype proposals” starting later this month and hopes to issue a contract by July.