(Photo by Dave Mason, Image Source Photographic)

David Spencer, co-chair of the Cislunar Initiative at Purdue and associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics engineering, speaks about the goals of the Cislunar initiative in the Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering.

WEST LAFAYETTE – In its inaugural call to action, Purdue Engineering’s Cislunar Initiative took a giant leap forward in advancing humankind’s presence in space and the development of the economy in the “cislunar region,” the orbital area encompassing the Earth and moon.

“The ecosystem of human space exploration has been rapidly expanding,” said Mung Chiang, Purdue’s John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering and the Roscoe H. George Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “At this critical juncture, Purdue Engineering is excited to join industry partners in the Cislunar Initiative and call for actions across the ecosystem, ranging from industry-friendly university intellectual property licensing to online learning opportunities from universities to industry.” Mung Chiang

The Cislunar Initiative, led by David Spencer, associate professor in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Kathleen Howell, the Hsu Lo Distinguished Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, will have five objectives aimed at accelerating the development of a cislunar region’s economy:

  • Advancing access to space, enabling frequent and sustained transportation to and within the cislunar environment.
  • Envisioning and enabling the infrastructure that provides the necessary support for cislunar space exploration and development through a strong university-industry-government collaborative approach.
  • Identifying and utilizing space resources and materials.
  • Leading in the areas of space policy, economics and space defense.
  • Initiating K-12 educational programs and courses, professional development, internships, co-ops and a Purdue curriculum for the future leaders in cislunar development.

“The Cislunar Initiative aims to conceive, design, and enable the utilization of cislunar space over a 50-year time horizon,” Spencer said.

Launched as part of Purdue’s commemoration of Apollo 11 and alumnus Neil Armstrong’s historic first steps on the moon, Purdue’s Cislunar Initiative collaborates across multiple industries and sectors to address critical areas of need in cislunar space relating to commercial development, government policies and regulation, and research as humans beings expand capabilities into the region that encompasses the Earth and moon.

“We will leverage Purdue’s unique strengths and respond to the emerging challenges in cislunar space. Also a priority is the further development of a diverse space workforce at all levels,” Howell said.

The Cislunar Initiative aligns with Purdue’s “Giant Leaps” Ideas Festival, which celebrates Purdue University’s global advancements made in health, space, artificial intelligence and sustainability as part of Purdue’s 150th anniversary.