Battling China and Russia on the Moon – US Space Marines (Part Two)

Russian propaganda from the original space race / Andy Black via (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) Flickr

ANALYSIS – Continued from Part One – Battling China and Russia on the Moon. China has already created a first-mover advantage on the moon with its 2019 landing of the Chang’e-4 spacecraft on the far side of the moon. According to Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., the ranking member of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, that should have been this generation’s Sputnik moment.

“But with all of the chaos in the world, and COVID-19, and all of this environment we’re working in, we missed it,” he said in Defense One.

Those far-side moon operations meant China had developed the technology to operate and communicate with its landed rover out of line of sight—and out of view of almost all of the U.S. ability to see what they’re doing. 

The achievement allows China “to accomplish scientific, military, or other endeavors without observation or repercussion,” [Laura] Duffy and [James] Lake wrote.

Laura Duffy, a space systems engineer with Canyon Consulting co-wrote “Cislunar Spacepower, The New Frontier,” with James Lake in this month’s Space Force Journal.

In June, following an earlier unmanned moon base partnership announcement reported by ADN here, the China National Space Agency and Russia’s Roscosmos took things a step further announcing they would begin surveying locations for this International Lunar Research Station this year and pick a site by 2025.

This follows President Trump’s 2020 promise to have U.S. ‘boots on the moon’ by 2024 via the Artemis Base Camp project, led by NASA and partnering with several allied countries. This ambitious U.S.-led effort is outlined in the Artemis Accords. But neither Russia nor China are expected to join these accords.

As Defense One notes, this year the U.S. Space Force and U.S. Space Command were also tasked with protecting U.S. assets well beyond just earth-orbiting satellites, up to 272,000 miles away. This new military sub-domain is called “cislunar space” and it extends just beyond the Moon’s orbit.

Together these various lunar moves create a great potential for clashing alliances on the moon, similar to the ones developing on Earth, with the U.S. and its allies on one side and China and Russia on the other.

Adding more uncertainty to the volatile mix, let’s not forget that in addition to those two major international alliances, private firms such as Blue Origin are also working on their own private moon bases, adds Copp.

While the 1967 U.N. treaty on the use of outer space provided for cooperation, banned nuclear weapons, military maneuvers, and military installations in space, an annex that prohibits military activity on the moon was never ratified by Russia, China, and the United States.

It is therefore very likely both the China-Russia and U.S.-led efforts will build their moon bases without any sort of de-conflicting agreement in place.

So, it’s definitely now time the U.S. and its allies start aggressively preparing for a potential battle on the surface of the moon. Space Marines to the ready. ADN

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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[…] Battling China and Russia on the Moon – US Space Marines (Part… […]

William Richard James Nicholson
William Richard James Nicholson
1 month ago

I am not fearful about the new space race. Russia cannot accomplish it without a reliable partner & everyone on Earth now knows CCP led China is Not Trustworthy ! Russia & President Putin are not blind drunken fools. Russia will continue to be a trustworthy nation on Earth & will decide on a path of peaceful cooperation with others whom are already aligned with an advancing civilization. The United States will maintain & advance both its own interests & those of all advancing civilizations by 1st proving it can clean its own house & rid itself of the vermin that have kept it from being the Bright City on The Hill status that it should have easily achieved by now. The future of space & the future of our planet is assured as soon as the forces of Peace & Freedom unite & Moral Authority is advanced within the authority of a newly reconstituted United States …………. May Creator God Bless Us & Our Legitimate Commander In Chief , Donald John Trump …………….

Peter K Baker
Peter K Baker
1 month ago

We have to get through the big war first but those who are left will go to the Moon.

Karl Henriksson
Karl Henriksson
1 month ago

In addition to possible fights over resources in space and satellite orbital slots, there is another problem: bio-weapons labs in orbit on space stations or later, the moon. Level 4 biology labs in big cities on earth have obvious drawbacks, as the recent COVID-19 disaster shows. Such labs in orbit or on the moon have less chance of back-contaminating the earth in an uncontrolled fashion. While the ISS is international, which helps in preventing any one nation from making bio-weapons there; the Chinese space station is planned to be not only an all-Chinese crew, but all of the crew so far are members of the PLA. The Space Force had better learn to deal with such things as more nations, and even NGO’s, learn to build space stations (a glorified collection of tin cans) in orbit. It’s better to think the unthinkable now than to be blindsided horrifically by it later.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 month ago

We need to get our Moon base sited & orbital system in place soon
& train Space Force for role

nemo
nemo
1 month ago

O’Biden – Leader in Chief – Can we put him on the moon, to lead the charge??? … Better yet, Polosi, Shoomer, Kamela, & the Squad, with him … that way we can’t loose … 🙂


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