Space: Defense Innovation Agency … interested in the moon

A dispute between the United States and China over the past week has been identified by Moon, director of the American Space Agency. [NASA]Bill Nelson, in a column in the German daily Bild, said he feared Beijing would take over the Earth satellite.

“We must be very concerned that China will land on the moon and say: ‘This is us and you stay out now,'” Nelson said, adding that the People’s Army is responsible for China’s space program. [APL]. Moreover, he added, “If China is good, it is also because of stealing other people’s ideas and technology.”

Clearly, Beijing has not failed to respond. “This is not the first time that a NASA director has ignored information and spoken irresponsibly about China,” said Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry. And condemning “smear missions against China’s normal and reasonable space efforts.”

Signed in 1967, the Space Treaty specifies in Article 4 that “the parties to the treaty shall use the moon and other space objects for peaceful purposes” and “the development of military bases and installations and forts, the use of all types of weapons and the execution of military tactics”. However, China signed it in 1983.

Clementine Boris, a professor of international law at Toulouse Capitol University, is the only one in the midst of a symposium on space law challenges held in May 2021, and it is difficult to verify whether the terms of the agreement have been properly respected. . “One of the problems with space is that it’s hard to observe what’s going on there: who left the wreckage? To know if what China does when it goes to the moon’s hidden surface is legitimate, since we can’t see it. It’s all very complicated. “It simply came to our notice then.

However, we are not there yet … even if China has made the moon one of the priorities of its space program for the period 2022-26, especially two missions to the moon’s south pole to prepare for future manned flights. And the United States has launched the “Artemis” project to send astronauts to the lunar surface again. European Space Agency [ESA] Not missing from the race, it has several projects in the box, such as being extremely ambitious to create a “lunar village” from 2030 onwards.

In Toulouse, such projects inspired the creation of “TechTheMoon”, described by its promoters as “the world’s first incubator dedicated entirely to the moon.”

This incubator “explains the potential for entrepreneurs to create and develop innovative solutions, technologies, products and services to meet the challenge of sustainable human presence on the moon”, explained on its website. So, the challenge is to create a “new commercial Earth-Moon ecosystem with high added value.” Five young companies were selected to join Tech the Moon last October.

However, in order to be selected, a project must meet “the needs of a terrestrial market”. Clearly, technologies developed to explore the moon may have applications in other fields. So the defense innovation agency has shown interest in TechTheMoon [AID]Who will soon be involved in the selection of five other young companies to join the Toulouse Incubator.

“By next September, AID will participate in the selection committee for five start-ups who will join the incubator in the fall. The selected companies will benefit for one year from the dual support of experts provided by CNES, with the help of about thirty consultants from the Toulouse economic circle, the agency explained, which, as a reminder, comes under the arsenal director general. [DGA].

“This collaboration with CNES through TechTheMoon will be implemented in the second half of 2022 through AID’s contribution to the incubator’s strategy training program, as well as the organization of joint events around the lunar economy and the contribution of experts from the Armed Forces Ministry,” he added.

This may arouse AID’s interest in lunar exploration technologies, for example, for programs that can equip space commands. [CdE] Ability to detect artificial objects moving between geostationary orbits and the moon [soit au delà d’une portée de 385’000 km]. US Air Force Research Laboratory [AFRL – Air Force Research Laboratory] Recently launched a call for projects in this direction called “Sisluna Highway Patrol System” [CHPS].

Illustration: Defense Innovation Agency

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