[SPREC Insight VOL.17] U.S.-China cis-lunar strategy and our response
  • By. 김지선
  • Date. 2024-01-22
  • View. 152

■ Introduction

● Increased interest in strategic use of ‘cislunar’, the outer space between the moon and Earth

- Cislunar outer space refers to the outer space between the Earth and the Moon, and this area is increasingly recognized as an area of human activity.

● In particular, the United States and China are looking for important meaning beyond science and technology in this space, and accordingly, discussions on ensuring the safety of cislunar space are actively underway.

- (USA) Establishment of technology demonstration program and space force centered on the Artemis program and Space Domain Awareness

- (China) Presents the view that the Chang'e plan and military domain will expand into deep space, and suggests the possibility that new missions will be assigned to this military.

■ US and China Sisruna activities and meaning

● Political aspect

- (United States) Stating that we are in the midst of a space race like in the 1960s, we formalized our efforts to keep China in check.

- (China) Geopolitical advantage strategy by encouraging participation of other countries through the Chang’e Plan

● Economic aspects

- (USA) Private companies participate in the Artemis Project and the defense technology demonstration program, providing new business opportunities for US companies.

- (China) The 2021 Space White Paper states that the development of overall space technology promotes the economic development of the people, and Chinese space experts suggest the need to recognize cislunar economic zones.

● Security aspects

- (United States) Recognizing the need to protect national interests arising from the cislunar space from a security perspective

- (China) Although there has been no official mention of lunar exploration directly linked to security, strategic interest in Cislunar is concrete.

■ Implications

● When considering the strategic use of Cisruna in the future, the following three strategic activities are expected to be considered first.

- First, support for military activities in outer space on the ground and in geostationary orbit

- Second, from a geopolitical perspective, protecting national interests in cislunar outer space

- Third, movement routes into deep space and use of relay bases, etc.

● The first and second are already being realized as part of the Space Domain Awareness (SDA) strategy, and since they are not explicitly prohibited in space norms except for the construction of military bases on the moon, the strategic use of cislunar space will accelerate. View

● This uncertainty is highly likely to lead to discussions about international order in future space activities, especially those of private space companies, in combination with other areas of debate in the following areas.

- (Space Resources) Who mines and distributes space resources, how to establish safe zones and coordinate to prevent conflicts, etc.

- (Space Traffic Management) Integrated management system and procedures to minimize the risk of orbital collision and ensure safety due to increasing space activities, etc.

- (Space long-term sustainability) Extended application of the long-term sustainability guidelines agreed to for sustainable activities in space to the Moon and Cislunar, etc.

- (Space debris) Since debris generated from space activities increases the risk of safety in orbit and re-entry to Earth, measures for mitigation, on-orbit services, active mitigation measures, etc.

● In the future, as the possibility of cislunar space becoming a new strategic area increases, our country needs a comprehensive strategy for various activities ranging from security, economy, and politics expected in this area and the international order required accordingly.