US Air Force to set up space force to patrol around Moon to scan for threats

The US is set to launch a space force to patrol around the Moon as it scans for "threats".

The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has revealed in a new video what the US military has planned for the future. The plans explained and shown in the video, detail a new satellite that will be launched into space called the Cislunar Highway Patrol System (CHPS).

The probe would patrol the Moon and be launched into cislunar space, an area that surrounds the Earth and goes past the lunar orbit.

The narrator in the video says: "Until now, the United States space mission extended 22,000 miles above Earth. 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, far beyond the crowd."

The AFRL website says: "The Cislunar Highway Patrol System (CHPS) is a spaceflight experiment designed to demonstrate foundational space domain awareness capabilities in the cislunar regime."

The CHPS is being introduced in an attempt to ensure that as space traffic increases, it still remains safe as the patrol will track any possible collisions and monitor the space.

Brian Weeden, director of program planning for the nonprofit Secure World Foundation,told Ars Technica: "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 US activities."

Weeden also stated that he doesn't believe CHPS will be used to target threats but observe them and notify Earth.

The video continued: "The U.S. Space Force will ensure the peaceful development of space, keeping our missions safe and secure in these distant frontiers.

"The responsible use of space and unfettered access to space domain awareness ensures collision avoidance, on-orbit logistics, communication, navigation and manoeuvring, all critical to the United States and allied space commerce, science and exploration."

The AFRL is set to request prototype proposals for the CHPS on March 21, with it revealing which proposal won the contract in July.

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