Through the Cislunar initiative, Purdue University will leverage its existing strengths in mission design and propulsion to advance access to cislunar space, characterize and enable the utilization of resources from the Moon and near-Earth objects, and conceive the infrastructure necessary for cislunar space development and habitability. As the orbital economy grows, new challenges are also emerging in space traffic management and policy, and defense of the nation’s space-based assets. Purdue will be the university leader in addressing these challenges, enabling the expansion of the orbital economy to encompass cislunar space. Near-term objectives have been defined for the Cislunar initiative, as follows:
- Cislunar incubator program to provide seed funding for proposal development leading to collaborative research centers, small satellite science and technology missions, and new technology areas related to cislunar infrastructure technologies. Possible examples include:
- NASA Solar System Exploration Virtual Institute on Lunar and Small Body Resources in collaboration with Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
- NASA completed mission opportunities, including $100M-class small satellite missions and $425M Discovery-class missions. Example: Lunar radar sounder small satellite mission for detection and evaluation of lava tubes as safe zones for human habitation.
- Space technology development through DoD and NASA funding opportunities. Example: Laser communications network architecture for high-rate telecommunications in the cislunar environment.
- Industry-University Consortium on Cislunar Development to create lasting partnerships with the leaders in space entrepreneurship, private industry, and government agencies.
- Industry workshops and short courses on topics related to cislunar development and space technologies
- Regular technical interchanges to prioritize and address cislunar development challenges
- Cislunar Education Program featuring the following components:
- Hub-type cyberinfrastructure repository to provide interactive tools and datasets for space system design, analysis, and modeling capabilities
- K-12 educational program focused on space exploration in collaboration with the Purdue School of Engineering Education and College of Education
- Online certificate program on Cislunar Space for students and professionals through Purdue Online, utilizing existing and new Purdue Engineering courses
- Space Policy Fellows program to bring the nation’s leaders in space policy development to campus for seminars, short courses, and summer fellowships.