The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is launching an effort to establish a satellite-based monitoring system for spacecraft traveling in the area between the lunar and Earth orbits.
AFRL intends to develop a prototype Cislunar Highway Patrol Satellite (CHPS) that will handle space domain awareness operations in the cislunar region, Breaking Defense reported Monday.
The lab is also assessing the feasibility of deploying CHPS in the Lagrange points, which are orbital domains that allow spacecraft to reduce fuel consumption through gravitational forces.
Capt. David Buehler, program manager at AFRL, told the publication in an email that the CHPS effort is in its early stages and the lab is “working to establish the science and technology required for domain awareness” to support missions beyond geosynchronous orbit.
Buehler noted that AFRL is also studying various launch options for CHPS as well as potential partnerships with NASA and industry.
"We are interested in technologies to support wide area search, narrow field tracking, and autonomous space domain awareness," he added. Other technologies of interest include positioning, navigation, and timing systems for flight experiments beyond GEO, said Buehler.
AFRL is looking to host an industry day on the CHPS effort in the coming summer.